Three Dimensional Nano "Langmuir Trough" for Lipid Studies
A three-dimensional-phospholipid monolayer with tunable molecular structure was created on the surface of oil nanodroplets from a mixture of phospholipids, oil, and water. This simple nanoemulsion preparation technique generates an in situ prepared membrane model system with controllable molecular surface properties that resembles a lipid droplet. The molecular interfacial structure of such a nanoscopic system composed of hexadecane, 1,2-dihexadecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC), and water was determined using vibrational sum frequency scattering and second harmonic scattering techniques. The droplet surface structure of DPPC can be tuned from a tightly packed liquid condensed phase like monolayer to a more dilute one that resembles the liquid condensed/liquid expanded coexistence phase by varying the DPPC/oil/water ratio. The tunability of the chemical structure, the high surface-to-volume ratio, and the small sample volume make this system an ideal model membrane for biochemical research.