Wetting Dynamics of a Lipid Monolayer

Shuo Guo, Yong Jian Wang, Hsuan Yi Chen, Penger Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Direct measurement and control of the dynamic wetting properties of a lipid-coated water-air interface over a wide range of surface tension variations have many important applications. However, the wetting dynamics of the interface near its partial-to-complete wetting transition has not been fully understood. Here, we report a systematic study of the wetting dynamics of a lipid-coated water-air interface around a thin glass fiber of diameter 1-5 μm and length 100-300 μm. The glass fiber is glued onto the front end of a rectangular cantilever to form a "long-needle"atomic-force-microscope probe. Three surface modifications are applied to the glass fiber to change its wetting properties from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. A monolayer of phospholipid dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) is deposited on the water-air interface in a homemade Langmuir-Blodgett trough, and the surface tension γL of the DPPC-coated water-air interface is varied in the range of 2.5 ≲ γL ≲ 72 mN/m. From the measured hysteresis loop of the capillary force for the three coated fiber surfaces with varying γL, we observe a sharp transition from partial to complete wetting when γL is reduced to a critical value (γL)c. The obtained values of (γL)c are 27 ± 1 mN/m for a DPPC-coated fiber surface and 23 ± 1 mN/m for an trichloro(1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyl) silane (FTS)-coated surface. Below (γL)c, the contact angle θ0 of the liquid interface is found to be zero for both hydrophobic fiber surfaces and the corresponding spreading parameter S becomes positive. For the FTS-coated fiber surface, the height of capillary rise exhibits a jump when γL is reduced to (γL)c, which indicates that a rapidly advancing liquid film is formed on the fiber surface when the partial-to-complete wetting transition takes place. Our experiment thus establishes a quantitative method by which many other liquid interfaces coated with polymers, surfactants, and biomolecules (such as proteins and lipids) may be characterized dynamically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4879-4890
Number of pages12
Issue number16
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2021


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