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Langmuir. 2009 Sep 1;25(17):10354-63. doi: 10.1021/la900907d.

In situ PM-IRRAS studies of an archaea analogue thiolipid assembled on a au(111) electrode surface.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G2W1 Canada.


Polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS) has been applied to determine the conformation, orientation, and hydration of a monolayer of 2,3-di-O-phytanyl-sn-glycerol-1-tetraethylene glycol-dl-alpha-lipoic acid ester (DPTL) self-assembled at a gold electrode surface. This Archaea analogue thiolipid has been recently employed to build tethered lipid bilayers. By synthesizing DPT(d16)L, a DPTL molecule with a deuterium substituted tetraethylene glycol spacer, it was possible to differentiate the C-H stretch vibrations of the phytanyl chains from the tetraethylene glycol spacer and acquire the characteristic IR spectra for the chains, spacer, and lipoic acid headgroup separately. Our results show that the structure of the monolayer displays remarkable stability in a broad range of electrode potentials and that the phytanyl chains remain in a liquid crystalline state. The tetraethylene glycol chains are coiled, and the IR spectrum for this region shows that it is in the disordered state. The most significant result of this study is the information that in contrast to expectations the spacer region is poorly hydrated. Our results have implications for the design of a tethered lipid membrane based on this thiolipid.

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