X-ray standing waves: a molecular yardstick for biological membranes

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Science  30 Sep 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4874, pp. 1788-1791
DOI: 10.1126/science.3175619


Structural information on an atomic scale has been obtained for a Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) trilayer system by means of long-period x-ray standing waves. The LB trilayer of zinc and cadmium arachidate was deposited on a layered synthetic microstructure (LSM) consisting of 200 tungsten/silicon layer pairs with a 25 A period. A 30 A thermally induced inward collapse of the zinc atom layer that was initially located in the LB trilayer at 53 A above the LSM surface has been observed. The mean position and width of the zinc atom layer was determined with a precision of +/- 0.3 A.