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Laser-Induced Local Collapse in a Langmuir Monolayer

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posted on 09.11.2006, 00:00 by RM. Muruganathan, Th. M. Fischer
Heating of a two-dimensional, methyloctadecanoate, Langmuir monolayer with a focused laser induces the local collapse of the monolayer. We observe the growth of a three-dimensional collapse aggregate that is fed by an inward flow of the two-dimensional monolayer surroundings. The experiments are explained with a hydrodynamic model describing the dynamics of the local collapse. From this theory we predict that local collapse can be induced if the collapse pressure of the monolayer decreases faster with temperature than with the surface tension of the pure air/water interface. Such conditions are fulfilled for lung surfactants, and it should therefore be possible to perform time-resolved local studies of the collapse of lung surfactants at those temperatures.