Ultrathin collagen type I films formed at the air-water interface


Collagen-based biomaterials with oriented fibrils have shown great application potential in medicine. However, it is still challenging to control the type I collagen fibrillogenesis in ultrathin films. Here, we report an approach to produce cohesive and well-organized type I collagen ultrathin films of about 10 nm thickness using the Langmuir-Blodgett technique. Ellipsometry, rheology, and Brewster angle microscopy are applied to investigate in situ how the molecules behave at the air-water interface, both at room temperature and 37 °C. The interfacial storage modulus observed at room temperature vanishes upon heating, indicating the existence and disappearance of the network structure in the protein nanosheet. The films were spanning over holes as large as 1 mm diameter when transferred at room temperature, proving the strong cohesive interactions. A highly aligned and fibrillar structure was observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical microscopy.
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