The interfacial structure and Young's modulus of peptide films having switchable mechanical properties

Anton Middelberg, Lizhong He, Annette Dexter, Hsin-Hui Shen, Stephen Holt, Robert Thomas

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39 Citations (Scopus)


We report the structure and Young s modulus of switchable films formed by peptide self-assembly at the air-water interface. Peptide surfactant AM1 forms an interfacial film that can be switched, reversibly, from a high- to low-elasticity state, with rapid loss of emulsion and foam stability. Using neutron reflectometry, we find that the AM1 film comprises a thin (approx. 15A) layer of ordered peptide in both states, confirming that it is possible to drastically alter the mechanical properties of an interfacial ensemble without significantly altering its concentration or macromolecular organization. We also report the first experimentally determined Young s modulus of a peptide film self-assembled at the air-water interface (E=80MPa for AM1, switching to E
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47 - 54
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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