Bilayer lipid membranes from falling droplets

Zagnoni, Michele and Sandison, Mairi and Marius, Phedra and Morgan, Hywel (2009) Bilayer lipid membranes from falling droplets. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 393 (6-7). 1601–1605. ISSN 1618-2642

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Abstract

We describe a system that provides a rapid and simple way of forming suspended lipid bilayers within a microfluidic platform from an aqueous droplet. Bilayer lipid membranes are created in a polymeric device by contacting monolayers formed at a two-phase liquid–liquid interface. Microdroplets, containing membrane proteins, are injected onto an electrode positioned above an aperture machined through a conical cavity that is filled with a lipid–alkane solution. The formation of the BLM depends solely on the device geometry and leads to spontaneous formation of lipid bilayers simply by dispensing droplets of buffer. When an aqueous droplet containing transmembrane proteins or proteoliposomes is injected, straightforward electrophysiology measurements are possible. This method s suitable for incorporation into lab-on-a-chip devices and allows for buffer exchange and electrical measurements.