Confined diffusion of hydrophilic probes inserted in lyotropic lamellar phases.

Research paper by P P Moreau, D D van Effenterre, L L Navailles, F F Nallet, D D Roux

Indexed on: 08 May '08Published on: 08 May '08Published in: The European Physical Journal E


The dynamic behaviour of three hydrophilic probes (two dyes and one fluorescently-labelled protein) inserted in the water layers of lyotropic lamellar phases has been studied by confocal fluorescence recovery experiments. Two different, ionic (AOT/NaCl/ H(2)O and non-ionic ( C(12)E(5) /hexanol/ H(2)O host systems were studied. The confinement effect has been carefully monitored using the swelling properties of the lamellar phases. In all cases, we measure the evolution of the probe diffusion coefficient in the layer plane D ( perpendicular) versus the separation between the membranes d(w). Depending on the composition of the lamellar phase, this distance can be continuously adjusted from 500A to about 20A. For all systems, we observe a first regime, called dilute regime, where the diffusion coefficient decreases almost linearly with 1/d (w) . In this regime, the Faxén theory for the friction coefficient of a spherical particle symmetrically dragged between two rigid walls can largely explain our results. More unexpectedly, when the membranes are non-ionic, and also quite flexible ( C(12)E(5) /hexanol in water), we observe the existence of a second, concentrated (or confined) regime, where the diffusion coefficient is nearly constant and different from zero for membrane separations smaller than the particle size. This new regime can be heuristically explained by simple arguments taking into account the membrane fluidity.