A phenomenological model of the solvent-assisted lipid bilayer formation method

Jurriaan J. J. Gillissen, Seyed R. Tabaei, Nam-Joon Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recently introduced solvent-assisted lipid bilayer (SALB) formation method allows one to efficiently fabricate planar, lipid bilayers on solid supports and can be used for various applications. It involves the introduction of an aqueous buffer into a mixture of lipid and alcohol, which is incubated on a solid support. The associated phase changes in the ternary bulk system are accompanied by the formation of a lipid bilayer at the solid–liquid interface. While the phase behavior of the ternary bulk system is well understood, the mechanism of bilayer assembly at the solid–liquid interface remains to be elucidated, including whether the adsorption process is limited by diffusion of the lipid in the bulk or by lipid binding kinetics onto the surface. Such factors strongly influence the success of bilayer formation as they pertain to operating conditions, such as lipid concentration, solvent exchange rate and chamber dimensions, and are hence of critical importance for SALB fabrication strategies. Herein, we extend an earlier proposed phenomenological kinetic model of the SALB formation process, based on a volume-averaged treatment of the solvent mixing process. By comparing the model to quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) experimental data, we conclude that SALB formation is limited by diffusion of suspended lipid aggregates, with a hydrodynamic radius, that is consistent with aggregate size measurements in the literature. This agreement validates the proposed model to serve as the basis for optimizing conditions for SALB formation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 24157-24163
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number35
Early online date08 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


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