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12 April 2010 Physical encapsulation and controlled assembly of lipid bilayers within flexible substrates
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Biomolecular networks formed from droplet interface bilayers (DIB) use principles of phase separation and molecular self-assembly to create a new type of functional material. The original DIB embodiment consists of lipid-encased aqueous droplets surrounding by a large volume of oil contained in a shallow well. However, recent results have shown that, by reducing the amount of oil that separates the droplets from the supporting substrate, physically-encapsulated DIBs display increased durability and portability. In this paper we extend the concept of encapsulated biomolecular networks to one in which phase separation and molecular self-assembly occur entirely within internally-structured reservoirs of a solid material. Flexible substrates with 200μm wideby- 200μm deep internal microchannels for holding the aqueous and oil phases are fabricated from Sylgard 184 polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using soft-lithography microfabrication techniques. Narrowed apertures along the microchannels enable the use of the regulated attachment method (RAM) to subdivide and reattach lipid-encased aqueous volumes contained within the material with an applied external force. The use of perfluorodecalin, a fluorocarbon oil, instead of hexadecane eliminates absorption of the oil phase into the PDMS bulk while a silanization surface treatment of the internal channel walls maximizes wetting by the oil phase to retain a thin layer of oil within the channels to provide a fluid oil/water interface around the aqueous volumes. High-quality 1,2-diphytanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPHPC) lipid bilayers formed within the prototype substrates have electrical resistance between 1-100GΩ, enabling the measurement of single and few-channel recordings of alpha-hemolysin (αHL) and alamethicin proteins incorporated into the bilayers.
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Stephen A. Sarles and Donald J. Leo "Physical encapsulation and controlled assembly of lipid bilayers within flexible substrates", Proc. SPIE 7643, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2010, 764321 (12 April 2010);

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