Publications by authors named "Mati Meron"

45 Publications

Tailoring Biomimetic Phosphorylcholine-Containing Block Copolymers as Membrane-Targeting Cellular Rescue Agents.

Biomacromolecules 2019 09 19;20(9):3385-3391. Epub 2019 Aug 19.

Department of Chemistry, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, James Franck Institute , The University of Chicago , Chicago , Illinois 60637 , United States.

Some synthetic polymers can block cell death when applied following an injury that would otherwise kill the cell. This cellular rescue occurs through interactions of the polymers with cell membranes. However, general principles for designing synthetic polymers to ensure strong, but nondisruptive, cell membrane targeting are not fully elucidated. Here, we tailored biomimetic phosphorylcholine-containing block copolymers to interact with cell membranes and determined their efficacy in blocking neuronal death following oxygen-glucose deprivation. By adjusting the hydrophilicity and membrane affinity of poly(2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) (polyMPC)-based triblock copolymers, the surface active regime in which the copolymers function effectively as membrane-targeting cellular rescue agents was determined. We identified nonintrusive interactions between the polymer and the cell membrane that alter the collective dynamics of the membrane by inducing rigidification without disrupting lipid packing or membrane thickness. In general, our results open new avenues for biological applications of polyMPC-based polymers and provide an approach to designing membrane-targeting agents to block cell death after injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.9b00621DOI Listing
September 2019

Stress relaxation in quasi-two-dimensional self-assembled nanoparticle monolayers.

Phys Rev E 2018 May;97(5-1):052803

Department of Physics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.

We experimentally probed the stress relaxation of a monolayer of iron oxide nanoparticles at the water-air interface. Upon drop-casting onto a water surface, the nanoparticles self-assembled into islands of two-dimensional hexagonally close packed crystalline domains surrounded by large voids. When compressed laterally, the voids gradually disappeared as the surface pressure increased. After the compression was stopped, the surface pressure (as measured by a Wilhelmy plate) evolved as a function of the film aging time with three distinct timescales. These aging dynamics were intrinsic to the stressed state built up during the non-equilibrium compression of the film. Utilizing x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy, we measured the characteristic relaxation time (τ) of in-plane nanoparticle motion as a function of the aging time through both second-order and two-time autocorrelation analysis. Compressed and stretched exponential fitting of the intermediate scattering function yielded exponents (β) indicating different relaxation mechanisms of the films under different compression stresses. For a monolayer compressed to a lower surface pressure (between 20 mN/m and 30 mN/m), the relaxation time (τ) decreased continuously as a function of the aging time, as did the fitted exponent, which transitioned from being compressed (>1) to stretched (<1), indicating that the monolayer underwent a stress release through crystalline domain reorganization. However, for a monolayer compressed to a higher surface pressure (around 40 mN/m), the relaxation time increased continuously and the compressed exponent varied very little from a value of 1.6, suggesting that the system may have been highly stressed and jammed. Despite the interesting stress relaxation signatures seen in these samples, the structural ordering of the monolayer remained the same over the sample lifetime, as revealed by grazing incidence x-ray diffraction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.97.052803DOI Listing
May 2018

Coupling X-Ray Reflectivity and In Silico Binding to Yield Dynamics of Membrane Recognition by Tim1.

Biophys J 2017 Oct;113(7):1505-1519

Program in Biophysical Sciences, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Department of Chemistry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Electronic address:

The dynamic nature of lipid membranes presents significant challenges with respect to understanding the molecular basis of protein/membrane interactions. Consequently, there is relatively little known about the structural mechanisms by which membrane-binding proteins might distinguish subtle variations in lipid membrane composition and/or structure. We have previously developed a multidisciplinary approach that combines molecular dynamics simulation with interfacial x-ray scattering experiments to produce an atomistic model for phosphatidylserine recognition by the immune receptor Tim4. However, this approach requires a previously determined protein crystal structure in a membrane-bound conformation. Tim1, a Tim4 homolog with distinct differences in both immunological function and sensitivity to membrane composition, was crystalized in a closed-loop conformation that is unlikely to support membrane binding. Here we have used a previously described highly mobile membrane mimetic membrane in combination with a conventional lipid bilayer model to generate a membrane-bound configuration of Tim1 in silico. This refined structure provided a significantly improved fit of experimental x-ray reflectivity data. Moreover, the coupling of the x-ray reflectivity analysis with both highly mobile membrane mimetic membranes and conventional lipid bilayer molecular dynamics simulations yielded a dynamic model of phosphatidylserine membrane recognition by Tim1 with atomic-level detail. In addition to providing, to our knowledge, new insights into the molecular mechanisms that distinguish the various Tim receptors, these results demonstrate that in silico membrane-binding simulations can remove the requirement that the existing crystal structure be in the membrane-bound conformation for effective x-ray reflectivity analysis. Consequently, this refined methodology has the potential for much broader applicability with respect to defining the atomistic details of membrane-binding proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2017.08.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5627149PMC
October 2017

Increased humidity can soften glassy Langmuir polymer films by two mechanisms: plasticization of the polymer material, and suppression of the evaporation cooling effect.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2017 Apr;19(16):10663-10675

School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.

Glassy Langmuir polymer films exhibit a rapid increase in surface pressure at high compression. High relative humidity typically mitigates this increase in surface pressure. In an attempt to understand the origin of this phenomenon, we investigated the effects of relative humidity on surface pressure-area isotherm properties for four different types of polymers with similar bulk glass transition temperatures: poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA, T ≈ 45 °C), poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAc, T ≈ 41 °C), poly(n-propyl methacrylate) (PnPMA, T ≈ 41 °C), and poly(vinyl stearate) (PVS, T ≈ 47 °C, T ≈ 47 °C). Bulk PLGA and PVAc materials are slightly hygroscopic, although they are insoluble in water; the bulk glass transition temperatures of these polymers are decreased under high humidity conditions. Analogously, the surface pressures of Langmuir PLGA and PVAc films become significantly reduced under high relative humidity, which can, therefore, be attributed mainly to the plasticizing effect of humidity on the polymer. X-ray reflectivity (XR) measurements suggest that humidity, however, does not significantly affect the molecular-level structure of the Langmuir polymer film. Interestingly, in the case of PnPMA, although its bulk glass transition temperature is unaffected by humidity levels, Langmuir films formed from PnPMA show significantly decreased surface pressures at high humidity conditions. We confirmed that this result is not an artifact associated with surface pressure measurements; humidity does not influence the wetting characteristics of the Wilhelmy probe at the air-polymer-water interface. It appears that the humidity-dependent behavior of Langmuir PnPMA films can only be explained in terms of the effects of relative humidity on the rate of water evaporation and thus the temperature at the surface of the polymer film; high humidity suppresses the evaporation of water and thus increases the temperature of the polymer-coated interface, resulting in a softening of the polymer film. We experimentally confirmed that increasing the relative humidity from about 30-40% to about 85-90% has an equivalent effect on PnPMA surface pressure as increasing the temperature of the system by about 2 °C. A heat and mass transfer analysis supports this correspondence. Langmuir PVS films exhibit a completely different behavior than PLGA, PVAc and PnPMA systems; PVS forms isolated two-dimensional crystalline domains at the air-water interface, and their surface pressure-area behavior is commensurate to that of colloidal particles spread at the air-water interface. Humidity seems to affect the surface pressure of PVS through a mechanism similar to the PnPMA situation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c7cp00785jDOI Listing
April 2017

Cyclization Improves Membrane Permeation by Antimicrobial Peptoids.

Langmuir 2016 12 15;32(48):12905-12913. Epub 2016 Nov 15.

Department of Physics, Center for Molecular Study of Condensed Soft Matter (μCoSM), Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology , 3440 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois 60616, United States.

The peptidomimetic approach has emerged as a powerful tool for overcoming the inherent limitations of natural antimicrobial peptides, where the therapeutic potential can be improved by increasing the selectivity and bioavailability. Restraining the conformational flexibility of a molecule may reduce the entropy loss upon its binding to the membrane. Experimental findings demonstrate that the cyclization of linear antimicrobial peptoids increases their bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus while maintaining high hemolytic concentrations. Surface X-ray scattering shows that macrocyclic peptoids intercalate into Langmuir monolayers of anionic lipids with greater efficacy than for their linear analogues. It is suggested that cyclization may increase peptoid activity by allowing the macrocycle to better penetrate the bacterial cell membrane.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b03477DOI Listing
December 2016

Liquid Surface X-ray Studies of Gold Nanoparticle-Phospholipid Films at the Air/Water Interface.

J Phys Chem B 2016 09 11;120(34):9132-41. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago , Chicago, Illinois 60637, United States.

Amphiphilic phospholipids and nanoparticles functionalized with hydrophobic capping ligands have been extensively investigated for their capacity to self-assemble into Langmuir monolayers at the air/water interface. However, understanding of composite films consisting of both nanoparticles and phospholipids, and by extension, the complex interactions arising between nanomaterials and biological membranes, remains limited. In this work, dodecanethiol-capped gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) with an average core diameter of 6 nm were incorporated into 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) monolayers with surface densities ranging from 0.1 to 20% area coverage at a surface pressure of 30 mN/m. High resolution liquid surface X-ray scattering studies revealed a phase separation of the DPPC and Au-NP components of the composite film, as confirmed with atomic force microscopy after the film was transferred to a substrate. At low Au-NP content, the structural organization of the phase-separated film is best described as a DPPC film containing isolated islands of Au-NPs. However, increasing the Au-NP content beyond 5% area coverage transforms the structural organization of the composite film to a long-range interconnected network of Au-NP strands surrounding small seas of DPPC, where the density of the Au-NP network increases with increasing Au-NP content. The observed phase separation and structural organization of the phospholipid and nanoparticle components in these Langmuir monolayers are useful for understanding interactions of nanoparticles with biological membranes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b03734DOI Listing
September 2016

Observation of Ordered Structures in Counterion Layers near Wet Charged Surfaces: A Potential Mechanism for Charge Inversion.

Langmuir 2016 Jan 29;32(1):73-7. Epub 2015 Dec 29.

Department of Physics & Astronomy, Northwestern University , Evanston, Illinois 60208, United States.

Charged (e.g., colloidal) particles in aqueous solutions will sometimes behave as though their effective charge has reversed, rather than reduced, by the attracted counterions. This is counterintuitive because it increases the electrostatic energy, but it has been proposed that lateral ordering of the ions could lower the free energy and favor overcharging (charge inversion). Using X-ray diffraction, we have observed sharp diffraction peaks from incommensurate Er(3+) counterion monolayers near charged surfaces formed by floating molecular monolayers. When the counterion lattice does not match the molecular surface lattice, this means that there is no specific attachment of ions, and thus the ionic lattice is formed due to interactions between charges in the counterlayer. Therefore, the existence of incommensurate ion lattices indicates that counterion ordering is a realistic mechanism. However, in this system our data rule out a well-known proposed "physical" mechanism-the Wigner liquid phase driven by Coulomb interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b04058DOI Listing
January 2016

Novel comparison of microscopy and diffraction techniques on the structure of iron oxide nanoparticle monolayers transferred by Langmuir-Schaefer method.

Rev Sci Instrum 2015 Jun;86(6):063704

University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.

Iron oxide nanoparticles undergo self-assembly into well-ordered monolayer films of macroscopic size at the air-water interface. This self-assembly process is the result of the van der Waals forces between the constituent particles. For roughly spherical particles, this monolayer is a 2D hexagonal close packed lattice. With Grazing Incidence X-Ray Diffraction (GID), one can obtain global statistical information about the film's spacing and correlation length. Herein, we demonstrate that comparable structural information can be obtained by a novel Fourier transform analysis method applied to Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images taken of the film after it has been transferred to a silicon substrate. This consists of using numerical methods to isolate the lattice structure of the monolayer in the SEM image to which a 2D discrete Fourier Transform is applied and the result integrated. This results in Bragg peak information akin to that obtained from GID, whose structure shows the same hexagonal close packed lattice with similar spacing and of greater peak contrast. This analysis technique may prove to be a suitable alternative or compliment to GID for many applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4922369DOI Listing
June 2015

Humidity-dependent compression-induced glass transition of the air-water interfacial Langmuir films of poly(D,L-lactic acid-ran-glycolic acid) (PLGA).

Soft Matter 2015 Jul;11(28):5666-77

School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.

Constant rate compression isotherms of the air-water interfacial Langmuir films of poly(D,L-lactic acid-ran-glycolic acid) (PLGA) show a distinct feature of an exponential increase in surface pressure in the high surface polymer concentration regime. We have previously demonstrated that this abrupt increase in surface pressure is linked to the glass transition of the polymer film, but the detailed mechanism of this process is not fully understood. In order to obtain a molecular-level understanding of this behavior, we performed extensive characterizations of the surface mechanical, structural and rheological properties of Langmuir PLGA films at the air-water interface, using combined experimental techniques including the Langmuir film balance, X-ray reflectivity and double-wall-ring interfacial rheometry methods. We observed that the mechanical and structural responses of the Langmuir PLGA films are significantly dependent on the rate of film compression; the glass transition was induced in the PLGA film only at fast compression rates. Surprisingly, we found that this deformation rate dependence is also dependent on the humidity of the environment. With water acting as a plasticizer for the PLGA material, the diffusion of water molecules through the PLGA film seems to be the key factor in the determination of the glass transformation properties and thus the mechanical response of the PLGA film against lateral compression. Based on our combined results, we hypothesize the following mechanism for the compression-induced glass transformation of the Langmuir PLGA film; (1) initially, a humidified/non-glassy PLGA film is formed in the full surface-coverage region (where the surface pressure shows a plateau) during compression; (2) further compression leads to the collapse of the PLGA chains and the formation of new surfaces on the air side of the film, and this newly formed top layer of the PLGA film is transiently glassy in character because the water evaporation rate in the top surface region is momentarily faster than the humidification rate (due to the initial roughness of the newly formed surface); (3) after some time, the top layer itself becomes humidified through diffusion of water from the subphase, and thus it becomes non-glassy, leading to the relaxation of the applied compressive stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c4sm02535kDOI Listing
July 2015

Interfacial localization and voltage-tunable arrays of charged nanoparticles.

Nano Lett 2014 Dec 24;14(12):6816-22. Epub 2014 Nov 24.

Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Chicago , Chicago, Illinois 60607, United States.

Experiments and computer simulations provide a new perspective that strong correlations of counterions with charged nanoparticles can influence the localization of nanoparticles at liquid-liquid interfaces and support the formation of voltage-tunable nanoparticle arrays. We show that ion condensation onto charged nanoparticles facilitates their transport from the aqueous-side of an interface between two immiscible electrolyte solutions to the organic-side, but contiguous to the interface. Counterion condensation onto the highly charged nanoparticles overcomes the electrostatic barrier presented by the low permittivity organic material, thus providing a mechanism to transport charged nanoparticles into organic phases with implications for the distribution of nanoparticles throughout the environment and within living organisms. After transport, the nanoparticles assemble into a two-dimensional (2D) nearly close-packed array on the organic side of the interface. Voltage-tunable counterion-mediated interactions between the nanoparticles are used to control the lattice spacing of the 2D array. Tunable nanoparticle arrays self-assembled at liquid interfaces are applicable to the development of electro-variable optical devices and active elements that control the physical and chemical properties of liquid interfaces on the nanoscale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nl502450jDOI Listing
December 2014

X-ray studies of interfacial strontium-extractant complexes in a model solvent extraction system.

J Phys Chem B 2014 Oct 15;118(43):12486-500. Epub 2014 Oct 15.

Department of Physics and ‡Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago , Chicago, Illinois 60607, United States.

The interfacial behavior of a model solvent extraction liquid-liquid system, consisting of solutions of dihexadecyl phosphate (DHDP) in dodecane and SrCl2 in water, was studied to determine the structure of the interfacial ion-extractant complex and its variation with pH. Previous experiments on a similar extraction system with ErCl3 demonstrated that the kinetics of the extraction process could be greatly retarded by cooling through an adsorption transition, thus providing a method to immobilize ion-extractant complexes at the interface and further characterize them with X-ray interface-sensitive techniques. Here, we use this same method to study the SrCl2 system. X-ray reflectivity and fluorescence near total reflection measured the molecular-scale interfacial structure above and below the adsorption transition for a range of pH. Below the transition, DHDP molecules form a homogeneous monolayer at the interface with Sr(2+) coverage increasing from zero to saturation (one Sr(2+) per two DHDP) within a narrow range of pH. Experimental values of Sr(2+) interfacial density determined from fluorescence measurements are larger than those from reflectivity measurements. Although both techniques probe Sr(2+) bound to DHDP, only the fluorescence provides adequate sensitivity to Sr(2+) in the diffuse double layer. A Stern equation determines the Sr(2+) binding constant from the reflectivity measurements and the additional Sr(2+) measured in the diffuse double layer is accounted for by Gouy-Chapman theory. Above the transition temperature, a dilute concentration of DHDP-Sr complexes resides at the interface, even for temperatures far above the transition. A comparison is made of the structure of the interfacial ion-extractant complex for this divalent metal ion to recent results on trivalent Er(3+) metal ions, which provides insight into the role of metal ion charge on the structure of interfacial ion-extractant complexes, as well as implications for extraction of these two differently charged ions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp508430eDOI Listing
October 2014

Observation of a rare earth ion-extractant complex arrested at the oil-water interface during solvent extraction.

J Phys Chem B 2014 Sep 2;118(36):10662-74. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Chicago , Chicago, Illinois 60607, United States.

Selective extraction of metal ions from a complex aqueous mixture into an organic phase is used to separate toxic or radioactive metals from polluted environments and nuclear waste, as well as to produce industrially relevant metals, such as rare earth ions. Selectivity arises from the choice of an extractant amphiphile, dissolved in the organic phase, which interacts preferentially with the target metal ion. The extractant-mediated process of ion transport from an aqueous to an organic phase takes place at the aqueous-organic interface; nevertheless, little is known about the molecular mechanism of this process despite its importance. Although state-of-the-art X-ray scattering is uniquely capable of probing molecular ordering at a liquid-liquid interface with subnanometer spatial resolution, utilizing this capability to investigate interfacial dynamical processes of short temporal duration remains a challenge. We show that a temperature-driven adsorption transition can be used to turn the extraction on and off by controlling adsorption and desorption of extractants at the oil-water interface. Lowering the temperature through this transition immobilizes a supramolecular ion-extractant complex at the interface during the extraction of rare earth erbium ions. Under the conditions of these experiments, the ion-extractant complexes condense into a two-dimensional inverted bilayer, which is characterized on the molecular scale with synchrotron X-ray reflectivity and fluorescence measurements. Raising the temperature above the transition leads to Er ion extraction as a result of desorption of ion-extractant complexes from the interface into the bulk organic phase. XAFS measurements of the ion-extractant complexes in the bulk organic phase demonstrate that they are similar to the interfacial complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp505661eDOI Listing
September 2014

Molecular mechanism for differential recognition of membrane phosphatidylserine by the immune regulatory receptor Tim4.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Apr 31;111(15):E1463-72. Epub 2014 Mar 31.

Program in Biophysical Sciences, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, Department of Chemistry, and James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637.

Recognition of phosphatidylserine (PS) lipids exposed on the extracellular leaflet of plasma membranes is implicated in both apoptotic cell removal and immune regulation. The PS receptor T cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain-containing molecule 4 (Tim4) regulates T-cell immunity via phagocytosis of both apoptotic (high PS exposure) and nonapoptotic (intermediate PS exposure) activated T cells. The latter population must be removed at lower efficiency to sensitively control immune tolerance and memory cell population size, but the molecular basis for how Tim4 achieves this sensitivity is unknown. Using a combination of interfacial X-ray scattering, molecular dynamics simulations, and membrane binding assays, we demonstrate how Tim4 recognizes PS in the context of a lipid bilayer. Our data reveal that in addition to the known Ca(2+)-coordinated, single-PS binding pocket, Tim4 has four weaker sites of potential ionic interactions with PS lipids. This organization makes Tim4 sensitive to PS surface concentration in a manner capable of supporting differential recognition on the basis of PS exposure level. The structurally homologous, but functionally distinct, Tim1 and Tim3 are significantly less sensitive to PS surface density, likely reflecting the differences in immunological function between the Tim proteins. These results establish the potential for lipid membrane parameters, such as PS surface density, to play a critical role in facilitating selective recognition of PS-exposing cells. Furthermore, our multidisciplinary approach overcomes the difficulties associated with characterizing dynamic protein/membrane systems to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying Tim4's recognition properties, and thereby provides an approach capable of providing atomic-level detail to uncover the nuances of protein/membrane interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1320174111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992656PMC
April 2014

Macroscopic lateral heterogeneity observed in a laterally mobile immiscible mixed polyelectrolyte-neutral polymer brush.

Soft Matter 2014 Jun 3;10(21):3771-82. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.

We studied mixed poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA) brushes. The question we attempted to answer was: when the chain grafting points are laterally mobile, how will this lateral mobility influence the structure and phase behavior of the mixed brush? Three different model mixed PEO/PDMAEMA brush systems were prepared: (1) a laterally mobile mixed brush by spreading onto the air-water interface a mixture of poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(n-butyl acrylate) (PEO-PnBA) and poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)-poly(n-butyl acrylate) (PDMAEMA-PnBA) diblock copolymers (the specific diblock copolymers used will be denoted as PEO113-PnBA100 and PDMAEMA118-PnBA100, where the subscripts refer to the number-average degrees of polymerization of the individual blocks), (2) a mobility-restricted (inseparable) version of the above mixed brush prepared using a PEO-PnBA-PDMAEMA triblock copolymer (denoted as PEO113-PnBA89-PDMAEMA120) having respective brush molecular weights matched with those of the diblock copolymers, and (3) a different laterally mobile mixed PEO and PDMAEMA brush prepared from a PEO113-PnBA100 and PDMAEMA200-PnBA103 diblock copolymer combination, which represents a further more height-mismatched mixed brush situation than described in (1). These three mixed brush systems were investigated by surface pressure-area isotherm and X-ray (XR) reflectivity measurements. These experimental data were analyzed within the theoretical framework of a continuum self-consistent field (SCF) polymer brush model. The combined experimental and theoretical results suggest that the mobile mixed brush derived using the PEO113-PnBA100 and PDMAEMA118-PnBA100 combination (i.e., mixed brush System #1) undergoes a lateral macroscopic phase separation at high chain grafting densities, whereas the more height-mismatched system (System #3) is only microscopically phase separated under comparable brush density conditions even though the lateral mobility of the grafted chains is unrestricted. The macroscopic phase separation observed in the laterally mobile mixed brush system is in contrast with the microphase separation behavior commonly observed in two-dimensional laterally mobile charged small molecule mixtures. Further study is needed to determine the detailed morphologies of the macro- and microphase-separated mixed PEO/PDMAEMA brushes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c4sm00022fDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397986PMC
June 2014

Assembly of amorphous clusters under floating monolayers: a comparison of in situ and ex situ techniques.

Langmuir 2013 Nov 11;29(47):14361-8. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University , Evanston, Illinois 60208, United States.

We report synchrotron X-ray scattering studies of biomimetic crystallization of hydroxyapatite (the primary constituent of bone), using monolayers of fatty acid molecules floating on simulated body fluid (SBF) as well as aqueous solutions of calcium phosphate. A ∼10 Å thick film of amorphous material is observed to form immediately at the molecular monolayer, consistent with the proposed formation of "Posner clusters". This layer becomes denser but not significantly thicker as the subphase concentration and the temperature approach physiological conditions. The amorphous films do not crystallize within 24 h, in contrast to prior reports of more rapid crystallization using electron microscopy on ex situ samples. However, crystallization occurs almost immediately after our films are transferred onto solid substrates. These results illustrate the importance of in situ measurements for model biomineralization experiments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la402682rDOI Listing
November 2013

Synchrotron X-ray studies of rapidly evolving morphology of self-assembled nanoparticle films under lateral compression.

Langmuir 2013 Nov 5;29(46):14050-6. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Department of Physics, University of California, San Diego , La Jolla, California 92093, United States.

Interfacial nanostructures represent a class of systems that are highly relevant to studies of quasi-2D phases, chemical self-assembly, surfactant behavior, and biologically relevant membranes. Previous studies have shown that under lateral compression a Langmuir film of gold (Au) nanoparticles assembled at the liquid-air interface exhibits rich mechanical behavior: it undergoes a rapid structural and morphological evolution from a monolayer to a trilayer via an intermediate hash-like phase. We report the results of studying this structural evolution using grazing incidence X-ray off-specular scattering (GIXOS). We utilize GIXOS to obtain a quantitative mapping of electron density profile normal to the liquid surface with a subnanometer resolution and follow the structural evolution of the Au nanoparticle film under lateral compression with a subminute temporal resolution. As the surface pressure is increased, the self-assembled nanoparticle monolayer first crinkles into a double-layer phase before forming a trilayer. This study reveals the existence of a transient bilayer phase and provides a microscopic picture of the particle-level crinkling phenomena of ultrathin films. These studies were previously impossible due to the relatively short time scales involved in crinkling formation of these transient phases and their intrinsically inhomogeneous nature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la403252dDOI Listing
November 2013

Comparison of the mechanical properties of self-assembled Langmuir monolayers of nanoparticles and phospholipids.

Langmuir 2013 Sep 5;29(37):11751-7. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago , Chicago, Illinois 60637, United States.

Nanoparticles with hydrophobic capping ligands and amphiphilic phospholipids are both found to self-assemble into monolayer films when deposited on the air/water interface. By separately measuring the anisotropic stress response of these films under uniaxial compression, we obtain both the 2D compressive and shear moduli of a range of different thin nanoparticle and phospholipid films. The compressive moduli of both nanoparticle and lipid films in the solid phase are on the same order of magnitude, whereas the shear moduli of the lipid films are found to be significantly lower. Additionally, the moduli of the nanoparticle films depended substantially on the polydispersity of the constituent particles-broader size distribution lowered the stiffness of the nanoparticle film.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la4020064DOI Listing
September 2013

Structural characterization of a model gram-negative bacterial surface using lipopolysaccharides from rough strains of Escherichia coli.

Biomacromolecules 2013 Jun 9;14(6):2014-22. Epub 2013 May 9.

Bragg Institute, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation , Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232, Australia.

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) make up approximately 75% of the Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane (OM) surface, but because of the complexity of the molecule, there are very few model OMs that include LPS. The LPS molecule consists of lipid A, which anchors the LPS within the OM, a core polysaccharide region, and a variable O-antigen polysaccharide chain. In this work we used RcLPS (consisting of lipid A plus the first seven sugars of the core polysaccharide) from a rough strain of Escherichia coli to form stable monolayers of LPS at the air-liquid interface. The vertical structure RcLPS monolayers were characterized using neutron and X-ray reflectometry, while the lateral structure was investigated using grazing incidence X-ray diffraction and Brewster angle microscopy. It was found that RcLPS monolayers at surface pressures of 20 mN m(-1) and above are resolved as hydrocarbon tails, an inner headgroup, and an outer headgroup of polysaccharide with increasing solvation from tails to outer headgroups. The lateral organization of the hydrocarbon lipid chains displays an oblique hexagonal unit cell at all surface pressures, with only the chain tilt angle changing with surface pressure. This is in contrast to lipid A, which displays hexagonal or, above 20 mN m(-1), distorted hexagonal packing. This work provides the first complete structural analysis of a realistic E. coli OM surface model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm400356mDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679557PMC
June 2013

Ion distributions at the water/1,2-dichloroethane interface: potential of mean force approach to analyzing X-ray reflectivity and interfacial tension measurements.

J Phys Chem B 2013 May 22;117(17):5365-78. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60607, United States.

We present X-ray reflectivity and interfacial tension measurements of the electrified liquid/liquid interface between two immiscible electrolyte solutions for the purpose of understanding the dependence of interfacial ion distributions on the applied electric potential difference across the interface. The aqueous phase contains alkali-metal chlorides, including LiCl, NaCl, RbCl, or CsCl, and the organic phase is a 1,2-dichloroethane solution of bis(triphenylphosphor anylidene) ammonium tetrakis(pentafluorophenyl)borate (BTPPATPFB). Selected data for a subset of electric potential differences are analyzed to determine the potentials of mean force for Li(+), Rb(+), Cs(+), BTPPA(+), and TPFB(-). These potentials of mean force are then used to analyze both X-ray reflectivity and interfacial tension data measured over a wide range of electric potential differences. Comparison of X-ray reflectivity data for strongly hydrated alkali-metal ions (Li(+) and Na(+)), for which ion pairing to TPFB(-) ions across the interface is not expected, to data for weakly hydrated alkali-metal ions (Rb(+) and Cs(+)) indicates that the Gibbs energy of adsorption due to ion pairing at the interface must be small (<1 k(B)T per ion pair) for both the CsCl and RbCl samples. This paper demonstrates the applicability of the Poisson-Boltzmann potential of mean force approach to the analysis of X-ray reflectivity measurements that probe the nanoscale ion distribution and the consequences of these underlying distributions for thermodynamic studies, such as interfacial tension measurements, that yield quantities related to the integrated ion distribution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp401892yDOI Listing
May 2013

Tuning ion correlations at an electrified soft interface.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Dec 21;109(50):20326-31. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Department of Physics, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.

Ion distributions play a central role in various settings-from biology, where they mediate the electrostatic interactions between charged biomolecules in solution, to energy storage devices, where they influence the charging properties of supercapacitors. These distributions are determined by interactions dictated by the chemical properties of the ions and their environment as well as the long-range nature of the electrostatic force. Recent theoretical and computational studies have explored the role of correlations between ions, which have been suggested to underlie a number of counterintuitive results, such as like-charge attraction. However, the interdependency between ion correlations and other interactions that ions experience in solution complicates the connection between physical models of ion correlations and the experimental investigation of ion distributions. We exploit the properties of the liquid/liquid interface to vary the coupling strength of ion-ion correlations from weak to strong while monitoring their influence on ion distributions at the nanometer scale with X-ray reflectivity and the macroscopic scale with interfacial tension measurements. These data are in agreement with the predictions of a parameter-free density functional theory that includes ion-ion correlations and ion-solvent interactions over the entire range of experimentally tunable correlation coupling strengths (from 0.8 to 3.7). This study provides evidence for a sharply defined electrical double layer for large coupling strengths in contrast to the diffuse distributions predicted by mean field theory, thereby confirming a common prediction of many ion correlation models. The reported findings represent a significant advance in elucidating the nature and role of ion correlations in charged soft matter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1214204109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3528511PMC
December 2012

Molecular structure of interfacial human meibum films.

Langmuir 2012 Aug 1;28(32):11858-65. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Chemical Engineering Department, Stanford University, California, USA.

Meibum is the primary component of the tear film lipid layer. Thought to play a role in tear film stabilization, understanding the physical properties of meibum and how they change with disease will be valuable in identifying dry eye treatment targets. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction and X-ray reflectivity were applied to meibum films at an air-water interface to identify molecular organization. At room temperature, interfacial meibum films formed two coexisting scattering phases with rectangular lattices and next-nearest neighbor tilts, similar to the Ov phase previously identified in fatty acids. The intensity of the diffraction peaks increased with compression, although the lattice spacing and molecular tilt angle remained constant. Reflectivity measurements at surface pressures of 18 mN/m and above revealed multilayers with d-spacings of 50 Å, suggesting that vertical organization rather than lateral was predominantly affected by meibum-film compression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la301321rDOI Listing
August 2012

Reduced Water Density in a Poly(ethylene oxide) Brush.

J Phys Chem Lett 2012 Jun 31;3(12):1589-95. Epub 2012 May 31.

†School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States.

A model poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) brush system, prepared by spreading a poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(n-butyl acrylate) (PEO-PnBA) amphiphilic diblock copolymer onto an air-water interface, was investigated under various grafting density conditions by using the X-ray reflectivity (XR) technique. The overall electron density profiles of the PEO-PnBA monolayer in the direction normal to the air-water interface were determined from the XR data. From this analysis, it was found that inside of the PEO brush, the water density is significantly lower than that of bulk water, in particular, in the region close to the PnBA-water interface. Separate XR measurements with a PnBA homopolymer monolayer confirm that the reduced water density within the PEO-PnBA monolayer is not due to unfavorable contacts between the PnBA surface and water. The above result, therefore, lends support to the notion that PEO chains provide a hydrophobic environment for the surrounding water molecules when they exist as polymer brush chains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jz3002772DOI Listing
June 2012

Charge, stereochemistry, or epitaxy? Toward controlled biomimetic nucleation at mixed monolayer templates.

Langmuir 2012 Jan 1;28(1):572-8. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

Department of Physics & Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60201, United States.

Floating monolayer mixtures of cationic dioctadecyldimethyldiammonium bromide and anionic lipids were used as variable templates for the biomimetic nucleation of calcium carbonate and studied using grazing incidence X-ray diffraction. Varying the ratio of constituents changes the monolayer charge, structure, and molecular tilt. The nucleating surface of calcite also changes as the mixture is varied, and at an 80:20 ratio the (012) face is seen under a floating monolayer template for the first time. Our results indicate that the average template lattice is the major controlling factor in the oriented nucleation of CaCO(3). This is in contrast to the current view that the orientation is controlled by the stereochemical matching of the terminal functional group and molecular tilt with respect to the carbonate groups in the crystal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la2037422DOI Listing
January 2012

Reverse self-assembly: (111)-oriented gold crystallization at alkylthiol monolayer templates.

Phys Rev Lett 2011 Sep 8;107(11):115503. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.

It has long been known that thiol-terminated molecules self-assemble as commensurate monolayers on Au(111) surfaces. By spreading floating octadecanethiol monolayers on aqueous solutions of chloroauric acid (HAuCl4) and using x rays to reduce the gold ions as well as to probe the structure, we have observed the nucleation of (111)-oriented Au nanoparticles at thiol surfaces. This process may be similar to the formation of biogenic gold by bacteria. The thiol monolayer acts as a "soft template," changing its structure as Au crystals form so that there is a sqrt[3]×sqrt[3] commensurate relationship.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.115503DOI Listing
September 2011

Insertion mechanism of a poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(butylene oxide) block copolymer into a DPPC monolayer.

Langmuir 2011 Sep 25;27(18):11444-50. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Chemical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Interactions between amphiphilic block copolymers and lipids are of medical interest for applications such as drug delivery and the restoration of damaged cell membranes. A series of monodisperse poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(butylene oxide) (EOBO) block copolymers were obtained with two ratios of hydrophilic/hydrophobic block lengths. We have explored the surface activity of EOBO at a clean interface and under 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) monolayers as a simple cell membrane model. At the same subphase concentration, EOBO achieved higher equilibrium surface pressures under DPPC compared to a bare interface, and the surface activity was improved with longer poly(butylene oxide) blocks. Further investigation of the DPPC/EOBO monolayers showed that combined films exhibited similar surface rheology compared to pure DPPC at the same surface pressures. DPPC/EOBO phase separation was observed in fluorescently doped monolayers, and within the liquid-expanded liquid-condensed coexistence region for DPPC, EOBO did not drastically alter the liquid-condensed domain shapes. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD) and X-ray reflectivity (XRR) quantitatively confirmed that the lattice spacings and tilt of DPPC in lipid-rich regions of the monolayer were nearly equivalent to those of a pure DPPC monolayer at the same surface pressures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la2016879DOI Listing
September 2011

Glycerol-induced membrane stiffening: the role of viscous fluid adlayers.

Biophys J 2011 Jul;101(1):118-27

Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Lipid interfaces, ranging from cell membranes to thin surfactant layers that stabilize lung alveoli, are integral to living systems. Such interfaces are often subjected to mechanical forces, and because of their membrane-like geometry, they can easily deform by bending into localized folds. In this work, we explore the role of small molecules (i.e., glycerol) on the mechanical stability of model lung surfactant monolayers. We demonstrate that the presence of glycerol increases local monolayer bending stiffness by orders of magnitude. Our x-ray and neutron reflectivity measurements indicate that water is preferentially depleted, or glycerol is preferentially enriched, at the lipid headgroup/solvent interface, and that this glycerol-enriched layer extends O(10Å) beneath the monolayer with an adsorption free energy of -2.5 to -4.6 kJ/mol. The dramatic change in membrane bending stiffness in the presence of the sugar adlayer is understood in terms of two models: 1), lipid antiplasticization by glycerol; and 2), a continuum mechanical model of the viscous adlayer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2011.05.036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3127174PMC
July 2011

Nonequilibrium 2-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid monolayers: effect of electrolytes.

Langmuir 2011 Apr 18;27(8):4430-8. Epub 2011 Mar 18.

MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

2-Hydroxyacids display complex monolayer phase behavior due to the additional hydrogen bonding afforded by the presence of the second hydroxy group. The placement of this group at the position α to the carboxylic acid functionality also introduces the possibility of chelation, a utility important in crystallization including biomineralization. Biomineralization, like many biological processes, is inherently a nonequilibrium process. The nonequilibrium monolayer phase behavior of 2-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid was investigated on each of pure water, calcium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate crystallizing subphases as a precursor study to a model calcium carbonate biomineralizing system, each at a pH of ∼6. The role of the bicarbonate co-ion in manipulating the monolayer structure was determined by comparison with monolayer phase behavior on a sodium chloride subphase. Monolayer phase behavior was probed using surface pressure/area isotherms, surface potential, Brewster angle microscopy, and synchrotron-based grazing incidence X-ray diffraction and X-ray reflectivity. Complex phase behavior was observed for all but the sodium chloride subphase with hydrogen bonding, electrostatic and steric effects defining the symmetry of the monolayer. On a pure water subphase hydrogen bonding dominates with three phases coexisting at low pressures. Introduction of calcium ions into the aqueous subphase ensures strong cation binding to the surfactant head groups through chelation. The monolayer becomes very unstable in the presence of bicarbonate ions within the subphase due to short-range hydrogen bonding interactions between the monolayer and bicarbonate ions facilitated by the sodium cation enhancing surfactant solubility. The combined effects of electrostatics and hydrogen bonding are observed on the calcium carbonate crystallizing subphase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la104938fDOI Listing
April 2011

Role of the conformational rigidity in the design of biomimetic antimicrobial compounds.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2010 Nov;49(45):8462-5

Center for Molecular Study of Condensed Soft Matter (μCoSM) and Division of Physics, BCPS Department, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3440 S Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60616, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201003104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112193PMC
November 2010

Geometric stability and elastic response of a supported nanoparticle film.

Phys Rev Lett 2010 Jul 30;105(5):058301. Epub 2010 Jul 30.

Center for Advanced Radiation Sources, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

The mechanical response to compression of a self-assembled gold nanoparticle monolayer and trilayer at the air-liquid interface is examined. Analysis of the film's buckling morphology under compression reveals an anomalously low bending rigidity for both the monolayer and the trilayer, in contrast with continuum elastic plates. We attribute this to the spherical geometry of the nanoparticles and poor coupling between layers, respectively. The elastic energy of the trilayers is first delocalized in wrinkles and then localized into folds, as predicted by linear and nonlinear elastic theory for an inextensible thin film supported on a fluid.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.058301DOI Listing
July 2010

Phase-space analysis and experimental results for secondary focusing at X-ray beamlines.

J Synchrotron Radiat 2010 Sep 15;17(5):644-52. Epub 2010 Jul 15.

IMCA-CAT, Hauptman-Woodward Institute, USA.

Micro-focusing optical devices at synchrotron beamlines usually have a limited acceptance, but more flux can be intercepted if such optics are used to focus secondary sources created by the primary optics. Flux throughput can be maximized by placing the secondary focusing optics close to or exactly at the secondary source position. However, standard methods of beamline optics analysis, such as the lens equation or matching the mirror surface to an ellipse, work poorly when the source-to-optics distance is very short. In this paper the general characteristics of the focusing of beams with Gaussian profiles by a ;thin lens' are analysed under the paraxial approximation in phase space, concluding that the focusing of a beam with a short source-to-optics distance is distinct from imaging the source; slope errors are successfully included in all the formulas so that they can be used to calculate beamline focusing with good accuracy. A method is also introduced to use the thin-lens result to analyse the micro-focusing produced by an elliptically bent trapezoid-shaped Kirkpatrick-Baez mirror. The results of this analysis are in good agreement with ray-tracing simulations and are confirmed by the experimental results of the secondary focusing at the 18-ID Bio-CAT beamline (at the APS). The result of secondary focusing carried out at 18-ID using a single-bounce capillary can also be explained using this phase-space analysis. A discussion of the secondary focusing results is presented at the end of this paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S0909049510024337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924791PMC
September 2010