Morphology of phase coexistence in a lung surfactant monolayer

Year: 
2017
Ranking: 
Honorable Mention
Artist: 
Ian Williams
Department: 
Chemical Engineering
Lab: 
Squires

Description

Surfactant molecules coat the alveolar surfaces in all mammalian lungs and facilitate breathing by reducing surface tension. This micrograph shows the patterns formed in a lung surfactant monolayer at coexistence between liquid-like (bright) and a solid-like (dark) phases.

This fluorescence micrograph shows a monolayer of the pulmonary surfactant dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) doped with a fluorescently labeled lipid. The fluorescent molecule is expelled from the condensed phase of DPPC and thus the liquid expanded phase appears bright. In a Langmuir trough, the DPPC monolayer is compressed until condensed domains nucleate and grow, forming the patterns shown. Brightness and contrast in the image have been altered for aesthetic purposes.

CSEP CNSI Schuller Lab UCSB