We report hitherto unrecognized cooperative behavior in the stochastic collapse of certain compressed lipid monolayers implicated in pulmonary function. The cooperativity emerges from a statistical analysis of the collapse events captured using fluorescence microscopy and digital image analysis. The collapse events involve folding of the monolayer on a micron scale, yet each event produces a macroscopic jerk of the layer. The cooperative collapse is striking for its temporal sharpness and large spatial extent.
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