Amphiphile (from the Greek αμφις, amphis: both and φιλíα, philia: love, friendship) is a term describing a chemical compound possessing both hydrophilic (water-loving, polar) and lipophilic (fat-loving) properties. Such a compound is called amphiphilic or amphipathic. This forms the basis for a number of areas of research in chemistry and biochemistry, notably that of lipid polymorphism. Organic compounds containing hydrophilic groups at both ends of a prolate molecule are called bolaamphiphilic. Common amphiphilic substances are soaps and detergents.
Structure and Properties
The lipophilic group is typically a large hydrocarbonmoiety, such as a long chain of the form CH<sub>3</sub>(CH<sub>2</sub>)<sub>n</sub>, with n > 4. The hydrophilic group falls into one of the following categories:
Anionic. Examples, with the lipophilic part of the molecule represented by an R, are: