Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Materials science

Synthetic sea shell

The mechanical properties of natural substances such as bone and shell are envied by those involved in the fabrication of materials. A 'bricks-and-mortar' structure, assembled layer by layer, is the key to making sea shells.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: The 'bricks-and-mortar' approach.



  1. Tang, Z., Kotov, N. A., Magonov, S. & Ozturk, B. Nature Mater. 2, 413–418 (2003).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Decher, G., Hong, J. D. & Schmitt, J. Thin Solid Films 210, 831–835 (1992).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Decher, G. Science 277, 1232–1237 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Mamedov, A. A. et al. Nature Mater. 1, 190–194 (2002).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Joly, S. et al. Langmuir 16, 1354–1359 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael Rubner.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rubner, M. Synthetic sea shell. Nature 423, 925–926 (2003).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing