Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Melting of the Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine Monolayer.

PMID 29565138


Langmuir monolayer self-assembled at the air-water interface represents an excellent model for studying phase transition and lipid polymorphism in two dimensions. Compared with numerous studies of phospholipid phase transitions induced by isothermal compression, there are very scarce reports on two-dimensional phase transitions induced by isobaric heating. This is mainly due to technical difficulties of continuously regulating temperature variations while maintaining a constant surface pressure in a classical Langmuir-type film balance. Here, with technological advances in constrained drop surfactometry and closed-loop axisymmetric drop shape analysis, we studied the isobaric heating process of the dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) monolayer. It is found that temperature and surface pressure are two equally important intensive properties that jointly determine the phase behavior of the phospholipid monolayer. We have determined a critical point of the DPPC monolayer at a temperature of 44 °C and a surface pressure of 57 mN/m. Beyond this critical point, no phase transition can exist in the DPPC monolayer, either by isothermal compression or by isobaric heating. The melting process of the DPPC monolayer studied here provides novel insights into the understanding of a wide range of physicochemical and biophysical phenomena, such as surface thermodynamics, critical phenomena, and biophysical study of pulmonary surfactants.