The Langmuir trough (KSV 2000) allows us to create films that are one molecule thick by spreading surfactants at an air/water interface. Surfactants are molecules that contain a hydrophobic “water fearing” and hydrophilic “water loving” part. W&J has two Langmuir troughs—one for air/water studies and another (special) one for oil/water studies.
The Langmuir trough is used in Independent Study (CHM 500/501). Students, for example, can prepare polymer nanostructures that can then be imaged using our atomic force microscope (AFM). Results of this research appeared in a publication in Langmuir, an American Chemical Society peer-reviewed journal. In addition, the Langmuir trough has been used to create lipid bilayers that mimic cell membranes.