Co-existence of gel and fluid lipid domains in single-component phospholipid membranes

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1039/C2SM07158D
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TypeArticle
Journal titleSoft Matter
Volume8
Issue17
Pages46874694; # of pages: 8
AbstractLateral nanostructures in membranes, so-called rafts, are believed to strongly influence membrane properties and functions. The experimental observation of rafts has proven difficult as they are thought to be dynamic structures that likely fluctuate on nano- to microsecond time scales. Using neutron diffraction we present direct experimental evidence for the co-existence of gel and fluid lipid domains in a single-component phospholipid membrane made of DPPC as it undergoes its main phase transition. The coherence length of the neutron beam sets a lower limit for the size of structures that can be observed. Neutron coherence lengths between 30 and 242 Å used in this study were obtained by varying the incident neutron energy and the resolution of the neutron spectrometer. We observe Bragg peaks corresponding to co-existing nanometer sized structures, both in out-of-plane and in-plane scans, by tuning the neutron coherence length. During the main phase transition, instead of a continuous transition that shows a pseudo-critical behavior, we observe the co-existence of gel and fluid domains.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number20140148
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Record identifier992a10cd-4111-4595-b1ec-8a52547fa93a
Record created2012-06-14
Record modified2016-05-09
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