Kinetics of a structural phase transition in Langmuir monolayers studied using x-ray diffraction

B. Lin*, J. B. Peng, J. B. Ketterson, P. Dutta, B. N. Thomas, J. Buontempo, Stuart A. Rice

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Frequently, time-dependent effects are seen in monolayers of amphiphilic molecules (Langmuir films) when they are compressed, so that the pressure after some time is different from that recorded immediately after compression. We have identified for the first time a microscopic relaxation mechanism in monolayers of heneicosanol (C21,H43OH): namely, a transition from a uniaxially distorted ("pseudohexagonal") structure, formed upon compression, to an undistorted hexagonal structure. For T > 20°C we observe only an apparently hexagonal phase, while at T = 5°C we observe only an apparently stable pseudohexagonal phase. When 10≤T≤20°C, the monolayer structure changes with time from pseudohexagonal to hexagonal. The rate at which this transformation occurs is strongly temperature dependent. We propose that the observed temperature dependence is determined by the rate of nucleation of a hexagonal phase from a metastable shear-induced structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2393-2397
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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