Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2007 Jacob D. Eccles. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics & Astronomy Department

First Advisor

Peter J. Collings


Here we report Langmuir isotherms for various glycolipids and the application of laser optical techniques to characterize compression, molecular tilt, polarization, and ferroelectricity in amphiphilic monolayers. In order to observe those phenomena dependent upon molecular orientation on a macroscopic scale, mono layers were sheared through narrow gaps and subjected to strong electric fields. Furthermore, lasers were aligned at Brewster's angle to increase sensitivity. We find, unfortunately, that either the employed external alignment mechanisms are too weak or that the measurement techniques lack sufficient sensitivity to observe the orientational phenomena under study, and we are unable to definitively interpret our data. We do, however, demonstrate the facility of the laser technique in measuring monolayer density and its correspondence with surface pressure.