Nature is an exquisite designer of inorganic materials using biomolecules as templates. Diatoms create intricate silica wall structures with fine features using the protein family of silaffins as templates. Marine sponges create silica spicules also using proteins, termed silicateins. In recent years, our group and others have used biomolecules as templates for the deposition of inorganic materials. In contrast with the traditional materials science approach, which requires high heat, extreme pH and non-aqueous solutions, the bio-based approaches allow the reactions to proceed usually at near ambient conditions. Additionally, the biological templates allow for the control of the inorganic nanoparticle morphology. The use of peptides and biomolecules for templating and assembling inorganics will be discussed here.

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