Helical microstructures in molluscan biomineralization are a biological example of close packed helices that may form from a colloidal liquid crystal precursor in a twist--bend nematic phase


We demonstrate that nature has produced a close-packed helical twisted filamentous material in the biomineralization of the mollusk. In liquid crystals, twist–bend nematics have been predicted and observed. We present and analyze evidence that the helical biomineral microstructure of mollusk shells may be formed from such a liquid-crystal precursor.

Physical Review Materials