The Wolf Group

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Where bio and solids meet: bioinorganic solid-state chemistry.

Biominerals are astounding multifunctional biogenic ceramics that form at mildest conditions. Despite the importance of biominerals for climate change, geochemistry, and the design of bioinspired materials or biomaterials, we still hardly understand the chemical mechanisms that underlie the biosynthesis of these exquisite hybrid materials. Moreover, today’s studies of organo-mineral interactions and nonclassical mechanisms put centennial concepts of crystallization into question. This critical knowledge gap impacts numerous disciplines since crystalline and glassy solids are central to biological, (geo)chemical, physical and industrial research.

Anatomizing the organo-controlled mineralization routes across length scales, The WOLF Group provides
(i) decodes molecular formation mechanisms of solid-state materials under bio-relevant and mild conditions
(ii) identifies fundamental mechanisms of structure and mineral formation in biomineralizing systems
(iii) charters process-structure-property relationships of biological solid-state materials that serve as blueprints for novel biomimetic materials
(iv) develops sustainable and bio-inspired synthesis routes of functional and nanostructured materials

Stephan E. Wolf is a Fellow in the Heisenberg Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Wolf’s Heisenberg project is dedicated to amorphous and thus disordered phases of inorganic materials and develops them into a novel and versatile synthesis tool. Since these amorphous phases play a decisive role in various biological, geological, and industrial processes, his project also contributes to numerous interdisciplinary topics, from paleoclimatology to more environmental-friendly industrial processes and low-temperature ceramic and glass processing. The funding amounts to almost €1 million.
Selected Research Highlights

crystengcom2015 First layers of nacre preceed by a zone of aggregation of nanoparticles indicating nonclassical growth processes in vivo.