Measurement of Monolayer Viscosity Using Non-Contact Microrheology

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Microrheological studies of phospholipid monolayers, bilayers, and other Langmuir monolayer systems are traditionally performed by observing the thermal fluctuations of tracers attached to the membrane or interface. Measurements of this type obtain surface moduli that are orders of magnitude different from those obtained using macroscopic or active techniques. These large discrepancies can result from uncertainties in the tracer’s coupling to the monolayer or the local disruption of the monolayer by the tracer. To avoid such problems, we perform a microrheological experiment with the tracer particle placed at a known depth beneath the monolayer; this avoids the issues mentioned at the cost of generating a weaker, purely hydrodynamic coupling between the tracer and the monolayer. We calculate the appropriate response functions for this submerged particle microrheology and demonstrate the technique on three model monolayer systems.

R. Shlomovitz, A. A. Evans, T. Boatwright, M. Dennin, and A. J. Levine, Phys. Rev. Lett.110 137802 (2013) pdf SI 

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