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Composite, multifunctional fine particles are likely to be at the frontier of materials science in the foreseeable future. Here we present a submicron composite particle that mimics the stratified structure of the Earth by having a zero-valent iron core, a silicate/silicide mantle, and a thin carbonaceous crust resembling the biosphere and its biotic deposits. Particles were formulated in a stable colloidal form and made to interact with various types of healthy and cancer cells in vitro. A selective anticancer activity was observed, promising from the point of view of the intended use of the particles for tumor targeting across the blood–brain barrier. As an extension of the idea underlying the fabrication of a particle mimicking the planet Earth, we propose a new field of mimetics within materials science: astromimetics. The astromimetic approach in the context of materials science consists of the design of particles after the structure of celestial bodies. With Earth being the most chemically diverse and fertile out of all the astral bodies known, it is anticipated that the great majority of astromimetic material models will fall in the domain of geo-inspired ones.


This article was originally published in Nanobiomedicine, volume 5, in 2018. DOI: 10.1177/1849543518794345


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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