Detergents are amphiphilic compounds with well-segregated polar and apolar domains that have measurable aqueous solubility as both aggregates and as monomers. Detergents belong to a class of compounds called surfactants, which are surface active agents that reduce interfacial surface tension in mixtures (i.e., oil and water) by
adsorbing to interfaces. Detergents are useful in a wide variety of applications including: polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), membrane permiabilization, membrane dissolution, inclusion body solubilization, lipid raft preparation, and membrane protein solubilization, biochemistry, crystallization, and manipulation. Detergents are also useful as model membranes for in vitro studies and as vehicles for protein/DNA/drug delivery.