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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2008, Article ID 352871, 6 pages
Review Article

Biologically Inspired Synthesis Route to Three-Dimensionally Structured Inorganic Thin Films

1Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5100, USA
2California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5100, USA
3Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9610, USA

Received 2 October 2007; Accepted 26 December 2007

Academic Editor: Ping Xiao

Copyright © 2008 Birgit Schwenzer and Daniel E. Morse. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inorganic thin films (hydroxide, oxide, and phosphate materials) that are textured on a submicron scale have been prepared from aqueous metal salt solutions at room temperature using vapor-diffusion catalysis. This generic synthesis approach mimics the essential advantages of the catalytic and structure-directing mechanisms observed for the formation of silica skeletons of marine sponges. Chemical composition, crystallinity, and the three-dimensional morphology of films prepared by this method are extremely sensitive to changes in the synthesis conditions, such as concentrations, reaction times, and the presence and nature of substrate materials. Focusing on different materials systems, the reaction mechanism for the formation of these thin films and the influence of different reaction parameters on the product are explained.