Formation of artificial lipid bilayers using droplet dielectrophoresis

School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Lab on a Chip (Impact Factor: 6.12). 11/2008; 8(10):1617-20. DOI: 10.1039/b807374k
Source: PubMed


We describe the formation of artificial bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs) by the controlled, electrical manipulation of aqueous droplets immersed in a lipid-alkane solution. Droplet movement was generated using dielectrophoresis on planar microelectrodes covered in a thin insulator. Droplets, surrounded by lipid monolayers, were brought into contact and spontaneously formed a BLM. The method produced BLMs suitable for single-channel recording of membrane protein activity and the technique can be extended to create programmable BLM arrays and networks.

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    • "The effect of nanoparticles on the structural integrity of the lipid bilayer can be studied by placing a droplet of nanoparticle dispersion on the chip and subsequently bringing it into close contact with a second droplet so that a suspended lipid bilayer is formed that is exposed to the nanoparticles (see Figure 1). It is now possible to insert AgAgCl electrodes into each droplet, voltage-clamp the bilayer and record the current over the bilayer, as a function of time, with pA sensitivity [2]. Since the droplets are optically accessible it is also possible to visualize the distribution of the nanoparticles within the droplet, although this requires the use of fluorescently labeled nanoparticles. "
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    • "In our case, the medium is compartmentalized into small droplets [15] [1] that form, when the medium is dripped into oil. The compartments are stabilized against merging through lipid molecules that self-assemble at the border between the aqueous and the oil phase. "
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