Diffusion in membranes: Toward a two-dimensional diffusion map
1 Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
2 ISIS, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, UK
Published online: 23 January 2015
For decades, quasi-elastic neutron scattering has been the prime tool for studying molecular diffusion in membranes over relevant nanometer distances. These experiments are essential to our current understanding of molecular dynamics of lipids, proteins and membrane-active molecules. Recently, we presented experimental evidence from X-ray diffraction and quasi-elastic neutron scattering demonstrating that ethanol enhances the permeability of membranes. At the QENS 2014/WINS 2014 conference we presented a novel technique to measure diffusion across membranes employing 2-dimensional quasi-elastic neutron scattering. We present results from our preliminary analysis of an experiment on the cold neutron multi-chopper spectrometer LET at ISIS, where we studied the self-diffusion of water molecules along lipid membranes and have the possibility of studying the diffusion in membranes. By preparing highly oriented membrane stacks and aligning them horizontally in the spectrometer, our aim is to distinguish between lateral and transmembrane diffusion. Diffusion may also be measured at different locations in the membranes, such as the water layer and the hydrocarbon membrane core. With a complete analysis of the data, 2-dimensional mapping will enable us to determine diffusion channels of water and ethanol molecules to quantitatively determine nanoscale membrane permeability.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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