Crystalline biominerals cost energy but provide the diverse organism making them with scaffolding, shielding, locomotion, mastication, gravity and magnetic field sensing, etc. How these crystals are formed reveals how living organisms harness the laws of physics and chemistry for their evolutionary advantage, but also because it can teach us new synthesis strategies for materials with targeted properties. Recent synchrotron spectromicroscopy methods reveal one formation mechanism and one toughening mechanism:
- Crystallization by particle attachment in diverse marine organisms, and its implications for changing ocean chemistry.
- Slight mis-orientation of nanocrystals in human enamel makes our teeth endure decades of mastication without breaking.