Organic molecules and nanoparticles embedded in inorganic crystalline lattices have been studied to add different properties and functions to composite materials. Calcium carbonate was precipitated by dropping an aqueous solution of CaCl2 into that of Na2CO3 containing dissolved vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The optical absorption ascribed to divalent ascorbate anions in the lattice was observed in the ultraviolet B (wavelength: 280–315 nm) region, while solid vitamin C exhibited absorption in the ultraviolet C (100–280 nm) region. The divalent ascorbate anion is only stable in CaCO3 due to the absence of oxygen molecules. Doping CaCO3 with nanoparticles of ZnO also enhanced the absorption in the ultraviolet A (315–380 nm) region. These composite materials are suggested for use as UV absorbers. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.