Monitoring the Nucleation of Crystalline Films of Cholesterol on Water and in the Presence of Phospholipid Academic Article uri icon


  • We present a study of two-dimensional (2D) crystallites of cholesterol formed at the air−water interface. Grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD) measurements performed along the surface pressure−area isotherm revealed a transition from a monolayer to a highly crystalline rectangular phase, about two layers thick. This variation in the film thickness was confirmed by ellipsometry measurements. Films transferred onto solid support by the Langmuir−Blodgett technique were seen by atomic force microscopy (AFM) to display elongated and faceted crystallites about 10 layers thick. The effect of the phospholipid dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) on the 2D crystallization of cholesterol was studied by GIXD and AFM with three cholesterol:DPPC mixtures in molar ratios 1:1, 2:1, and 5:1. The phospholipid additive reduced the crystallinity of the cholesterol in the 5:1 and 2:1 mixtures, totally suppressing it in the 1:1 mixture.

publication date

  • January 7, 1998