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The structure of langmuir monolayers probed with vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy
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Langmuir monolayers can be employed as simple model systems to study interactions at surfaces. Such investigations are important to fields ranging from biology to materials science. Herein, several aspects of these films and their associated water structure have been examined with vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy (VSFS). This second order nonlinear optical spectroscopy is particularly well suited for simultaneous investigations of the monolayer and the associated water structure with unprecedented surface specificity. The structures of these systems were altered through the control of experimental parameters including monolayer pressure, subphase temperature, pH and ionic content. Thermodynamic information about structural changes in a fatty amine monolayer's hydrophobic region was obtained by observation of the pressure and temperature dependence of the monolayer's solid to liquid phase transition. Further studies used the coordination of divalent cations to acid monolayers to perturb the water layers nearest to the film which enabled a better understanding of the water related VSFS features from these hydrophilic interfaces. Information from both the monolayer and water structure was then combined in order to examine the role of water in mediating ion-biomaterial interactions, often expressed in terms of the Hofmeister series.
Gurau, Marc Cory (2002). The structure of langmuir monolayers probed with vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from