Caught in films

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Science  20 Dec 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5295, pp. 1983
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5295.1983d

Lipids and other molecules with polar head groups and long tails can form monolayer (Langmuir) films on a water surface, but making multilayers requires transfer to a solid substrate. Kuzmenko et al. (p. 2046) have made multilayers at an air-water interface by incorporating a small basic molecule to stabilize the interaction between long-chain molecules with acidic head groups. Structural studies showed that the type of multilayers formed under compression depended on the relative handedness of the two molecules—if both were right handed, trilayers with a crystalline segment were formed, but if the molecules had different handedness, amorphous bilayers with poor chain packing were formed.

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