Forces between Lecithin Bimolecular Leaflets Are Due to a Disordered Surface Layer

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Science  19 May 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3777, pp. 939-942
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3777.939


The long-range repulsion observed between bileaflets of lecithin cannot be explained either with the usual view that the polar groups are arrayed coplanar with the bileaflet surface or by the assumption that charges protrude straight into the aqueous environment. Statistical-thermodynamic analysis of experimental data suggests rather that structure of the leaflet surface is better described as a diffuse charge layer. Forces between leaflets are caused largely by entropy changes in the surface with leaflet separation.