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Structural study of magnesium substituted hydroxyapatites by solid state NMR : towards biological and catalytic applications


Calcium hydroxyapatite (HA), the main inorganic phase of bone tissue, is an important material for bone substitution and other non-medical applications such as catalysis. In natural HA, magnesium is one of the main substitutions for calcium. Because of its biological relevance, incorporation of Mg in HA has been widely investigated. However, the structural changes caused by Mg substitution remain unclear, and it is crucial these are understood.

The main objective of this project is to understand the detailed consequences of Mg incorporation on the bulk and surface structure of magnesium-substituted hydroxyapatites (Mg-HA), in order to explain their bioactivity and reactivity. Solid state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is the key tool, which will be used to provide structural information on a set of Mg-HA samples: for the first time, the environment of each nucleus will be investigated by this technique. Because of the presence magnesium and calcium (two nuclei with small magnetic moments which have been little studied so far), the NMR applied will exploit the very latest techniques, such as very high magnetic fields, double resonance, and multiple quantum and satellite transition magic angle spinning.

The substitution-property relationship of the different Mg-HA will then be studied, by investigating the basicity of Mg-HA surfaces, and their biological and catalytic activities. In the long term, this work would enable a more rational elaboration HA-based functional biomaterials and catalysts, by allowing a better tailoring of their activity through Mg substitution. The project is expected to complete and diversify the applicant's expertise by bringing her new technical competences in materials chemistry and solid state NMR, and confronting her with the promising scientific field of appetite-based functional materials. The solid state NMR group in Warwick possesses both the scientific expertise and the state-of-the-art equipment necessary to carry out the project.

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