12 Baylis Mews, Amyand Park Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3HQ, United Kingdom.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8891 6600
Fax: +44 (0)20 8891 6599
Email: info@minersoc.org

Registered Charity No. 233706
VAT Reg. No. GB 238 7676 17

EMU Notes in Mineralogy - volume 14

Minerals at the Nanoscale
(F. Nieto and K.J.T. Livi, editors)  

Chapter 11. Biominerals at the nanoscale: transmission electron microscopy methods for studying the special properties of biominerals

by Mihaly Pósfai, Takeshi Kasama and Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski

Biominerals have important functions in living organisms: apatite crystals are responsible for the strength of our bones and the hardness of our teeth, calcite and aragonite are used by many organisms for making shells, and magnetite and greigite help bacteria and birds to navigate in magnetic fields. In order to fulfill their roles in organisms, biominerals have strictly controlled physical and chemical properties. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is ideally suited for the study of the structures, arrangements, compositions, morphologies, crystallographic orientations, crystallographic textures, and magnetic properties of biominerals at the nanoscale. In this chapter, we review the state of the art in the application of TEM techniques to the study of these properties, both in biomineral crystals and at the inorganic-organic interface. Examples are taken primarily from studies of magnetic minerals that form in the cells of magnetotactic bacteria. 

Go to the table of contents for this book

Go to the Mineralogical Society's online shop to buy a copy of the book from which this chapter is taken