Self-assembled crystalline monolayers and multilayers of n-alkanes on the water surface*


  • *

    This work was supported by the Minerva Foundation and the Danish Natural Science Research Council. We are grateful to HASYLAB at DESY, Hamburg, Germany for beam time and excellent facilities.


The induced formation of multilayer crystallites at liquid interfaces provides a direct means of monitoring the dynamics of crystal nucleation and of elucidating the effect of molecular inhibitors on polymorphism and crystal growth. The spontaneous formation of crystalline multilayers of n-alkanes spread from solution onto the water interface are described and X-ray structural investigations discussed which indicate that the full crystal symmetry is present even in layers that are only a few unit cells thick.