High yield, reproducible and quasi-automated bilayer formation in a microfluidic format

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    A microfluidic platform is reported for various experimentation schemes on cell membrane models and membrane proteins using a combination of electrical and optical measurements, including confocal microscopy. Bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs) are prepared in the device upon spontaneous and instantaneous thinning of the lipid solution in a 100-m dry-etched aperture in a 12.5-m thick Teflon foil. Using this quasi-automated approach, a remarkable 100% membrane formation yield is reached (including reflushing in 4% of the cases), and BLMs are stable for up to 36 h. Furthermore, the potential of this platform is demonstrated for (i) the in-depth characterization of BLMs comprising both synthetic and natural lipids (1,2-diphytanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPhPC) and L--phosphatidylcholine (L--PC)/cholesterol, respectively) in terms of seal resistance, capacitance, surface area, specific capacitance, and membrane hydrophobic thickness; (ii) confocal microscopy imaging of phase separation in sphingomyelin/L--PC/cholesterol ternary membranes; (iii) electrical measurements of individual nanopores (-hemolysin, gramicidin); and (iv) indirect assessment of the alteration of membrane properties upon exposure to chemical stimuli using the natural nanopore gramicidin as a sensor
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)1076-1085
    Number of pages10
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2013


    • natural nanopores
    • EWI-23776
    • Confocal Microscopy
    • METIS-300046
    • IR-87418
    • Membranes
    • Micro-fluidics
    • BLM

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