Bidirectional surface analysis of monomolecular membrane harboring nanoscale reversible collapse structures

Amit K Sachan, Hans Joachim Galla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Determination of orientation of nanoscale collapse structures formed within a Langmuir film at the air-aqueous interface has not been possible by existing experimental techniques. This is however of special importance for pulmonary surfactant films, which form reversible surface-associated reservoirs (SARs) under dynamic lateral compression and expansion. The direction of these SARs with respect to the interface has hitherto remained uncertain. We designed a methodological approach to investigate the directionality of SARs formed in a functional analogue of the pulmonary surfactant lining, where we transferred the compressed film on a holey substrate and performed bidirectional surface imaging of the hole spanning monomolecular membrane harboring SARs. This unambiguously showed association of SARs with the membrane toward the air-side, in contrast to the up to now commonly accepted view of an orientation toward the aqueous phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-966
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 13 2013


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • bidirectional surface imaging
  • collapse structure
  • pore-spanning monolayer
  • pulmonary surfactant
  • surface-associated reservoir


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