Faceted structures in Langmuir monolayers of diethylene glycol mono-n-octadecyl ether at the air--water interface.

Research paper by Md Nazrul MN Islam, Teiji T Kato

Indexed on: 01 Dec '04Published on: 01 Dec '04Published in: Langmuir


We have concurrently studied the surface pressure (pi) versus area (A) isotherms and microscopic surface morphological features of Langmuir monolayers of diethylene glycol mono-n-octadecyl ether (C18E2) by film balance and Brewster angle microscopy (BAM) over a wide range of temperature. At temperatures < or =10 degrees C, the monolayers exist in the form of condensed phase even just after the evaporation of the spreading solvent, suggesting that the melting point of the condensed phase is above this temperature. At > or =15 degrees C, the monolayers can exist as gas (G), liquid expanded (LE), and liquid condensed (LC) phases and undergo a pressure-induced first-order phase transition between LE and LC phases showing a sharp cusp point followed by a plateau region in the pi-A isotherms. A variety of 2-D structures, depending on the subphase temperature, are observed by BAM just after the appearance of the cusp point. It is interesting to note here that the domains attain increasingly large and compact shape as the subphase temperature increases and finally give faceted structures with sharp edges and corners at > or =30 degrees C. The BAM observations were coupled with polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS) to gain better understanding regarding the conformational order and subcell packing of the molecules. The constancy of the methylene stretching modes over the studied temperature range suggests that the hydrocarbon chains do not undergo any conformational changes upon compression of the monolayer. However, the full width at half-maximum (fwhm) values of the asymmetric methylene stretching mode (nu(as)(CH(2))) are found to respond differently with changes in temperature. It is concluded that even though the trans/gauche ratio of the hydrocarbon chains remains virtually constant, the LE-LC phase transition upon compression of the monolayer is accompanied by a loss of the rotational freedom of the molecules.