Kinetics and mechanism of the interconversion of inverse bicontinuous cubic mesophases
Squires, A. M., Templer, R. H., Seddon, J. M., Woenkhaus, J., Winter, R., Narayanan, T. and Finet, S. (2005) Kinetics and mechanism of the interconversion of inverse bicontinuous cubic mesophases. Physical Review E, 72 (1). 011502. ISSN 1550-2376
To link to this article DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.72.011502
This paper describes time-resolved x-ray diffraction data monitoring the transformation of one inverse bicontinuous cubic mesophase into another, in a hydrated lipid system. The first section of the paper describes a mechanism for the transformation that conserves the topology of the bilayer, based on the work of Charvolin and Sadoc, Fogden and Hyde, and Benedicto and O'Brien in this area. We show a pictorial representation of this mechanism, in terms of both the water channels and the lipid bilayer. The second section describes the experimental results obtained. The system under investigation was 2:1 lauric acid: dilauroylphosphatidylcholine at a hydration of 50% water by weight. A pressure-jump was used to induce a phase transition from the gyroid (Q(II)(G)) to the diamond (Q(II)(D)) bicontinuous cubic mesophase, which was monitored by time-resolved x-ray diffraction. The lattice parameter of both mesophases was found to decrease slightly throughout the transformation, but at the stage where the Q(II)(D) phase first appeared, the ratio of lattice parameters of the two phases was found to be approximately constant for all pressure-jump experiments. The value is consistent with a topology-preserving mechanism. However, the polydomain nature of our sample prevents us from confirming that the specific pathway is that described in the first section of the paper. Our data also reveal signals from two different intermediate structures, one of which we have identified as the inverse hexagonal (H-II) mesophase. We suggest that it plays a role in the transfer of water during the transformation. The rate of the phase transition was found to increase with both temperature and pressure-jump amplitude, and its time scale varied from the order of seconds to minutes, depending on the conditions employed.