What can we learn about the lipid vesicle structure from the small-angle neutron scattering experiment? (Investigation DMPC vesicle structure by small angle neutron scattering)
Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) on the unilamellar vesicle populations (diameter 500 and 1000 angstrom) was used to characterize lipid vesicles from dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) at three phases (gel, ripple, and liquid). Parameters of vesicle populations and internal structure of the DMPC bilayer were characterized on the basis of the Separated Form Factor (SFF) model. Parameters of the internal bilayer structure (thickness of the membrane and the hydrophobic core, hydration, and surface area of lipid molecule) were determined on the basis of the Hydrophobic-Hydrophilic (HH) approximation of neutron scattering length density across the bilayer r(x) and of the Step Function (SF) approximation of r(x). It was demonstrated in frame of HH approximation that DMPC membrane thickness in liquid phase (T=30 degrees) depends on the membrane curvature. The dependence of the DMPC membrane thickness on temperature was restored from the SANS experiment.