Single-particle Brownian dynamics for characterizing the rheology of fluid Langmuir monolayers

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Introduction

The authors attempted to probe the rheology of fluid langmuir monolayers by tracking the diffusion of single particles at air-water interface. It is similar in spirit to the tracking of particles to study the rheology of three dimensional materials. The set-up is shown in figures 1 and 2. Polystyrene beads are interpersed in a bead of water in the presence of 3 different monolayers: N-palmitoyl-6-n-penicillanic acid (PPA), pentadecanoic acid (PDA) and L-α-dipalmitoyl- phosphatidylcholine (DPPC). The contact angle that the polystyrene beads make with the water can be measured using the set-up shown in figure 2 using the formula

Monolayer1.1.png

where β is the water-glass contact angle.

Monolayer1.png

Monolayer2.png

The separation <L2> between pairs of particles trapped between the water-air interface are measured with respect to time. Measuring separation between pairs of particles instead of the absolute displacement of one particle helps to remove any drift, as discussed in problem set 1. If the motion is random and isotropic one expects the squared separation distance to increase linearly with time. The slope gives the surface diffusion coefficient D that is converted to a surface viscosity by using an appropriate hydrodynamic theory.

For brownian motions of particles completely submerged in a newtonian fluid, D is simply related to η by Einstein-Smoluchowski's relation, but in this case, the theoretical analysis is much involved due to two factors:

1. Addition of surfactants results in viscoelastic behaviour of monolayers 2. Polystyrene beads transverse all three phases: air, monolayer, bulk water

Results

Monolayer3.png

Monolayer4.png

Personal Thoughts

References

1. Single-particle brownian dynamics for characterizing the rheology of fluid langmuir monolayers, Sickert et al, EPL 2007