Investigations of amino acid-based surfactants at liquid interfaces



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Texas A&M University


Herein are presented collective studies of amino acid-based surfactants, also known as lipoamino acids, at liquid interfaces. Chapter III describes an investigation of domain morphology of N-Stearoylglutamic acid (N-SGA) Langmuir monolayers at the air/water interface by epifluorescence microscopy. Anisotropic feather-like domains were observed in L-enantiomeric monolayers while symmetric circular domains were found in racemic N-SGA monolayers. At a surface pressure of 30 mN/m the enantiomeric domains melted at 31 ??C while the racemic domains melted at 27 ??C. This result is exactly opposite to the behavior found in bulk crystals where the racemate melts at a higher temperature. These results were explained in terms of different molecular packing and hydrogen bonding between bulk crystals and two-dimensional thin films for enantiomeric and racemic compounds. Chapter IV summarizes the investigations of hydrogen bonding in N-acyl amino acid monolayers by vibrational sum-frequency spectroscopy (VSFS). The intermolecular hydrogen bonding interaction between the adjacent molecules through amide-amide groups in N-stearoylalanine (N-SA) is characterized by an NH stretch peak at 3311 cm-1. This is the first time that the amide NH stretching signals have been detected with the VSFS technique. A similar peak was detected at 3341 cm-1on N-SGA monolayer. The higher frequency indicates that the H-bond strength is weaker due to the larger size of the glutamic acid residue. The NH stretch mode can thus be used as a fingerprint of hydrogen bonding among amide-amide groups. A peak at 3050 cm-1 due to hydrogen bonding among carboxyl groups was also resolved from the VSFS spectra. Molecular models of intermolecular hydrogen bonding were proposed.