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Micropipet-Assisted Formation of Microscopic Networks of Unilamellar Lipid Bilayer Nanotubes and Containers

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Department of Physical Chemistry and Microtechnology Center, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden, and Department of Chemistry, Göteborg University, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
Cite this: Langmuir 2001, 17, 22, 6754–6758
Publication Date (Web):October 6, 2001
Copyright © 2001 American Chemical Society

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    We describe a novel micropipet-assisted technique for the construction of complex, surface-immobilized two-dimensional microscopic networks of unilamellar phospholipid bilayer vesicles (1−50 μm in diameter, 10-15−10-12 L) interconnected by lipid nanotubes (100−300 nm in diameter). As starting material for the construction of networks, we used twinned vesicle pairs, one of which is multilamellar and functions as a membrane donor and the other unilamellar and functions as a membrane acceptor upon manipulation. By electromechanical insertion of a pipet tip into the unilamellar vesicle followed by lateral pulling of the micropipet away from the vesicle, a nanotube was formed. Buffer solution contained in the pipet was then injected into the nanotube orifice, forming a vesicle of controlled size that was immobilized on the surface. The networks have controlled connectivity and are well-defined with regard to the container size, angle between nanotube extensions, and nanotube length. The internal fluid composition of individual vesicles is defined during the formation of a network by selection of the solution contained in the micropipet.

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     Chalmers University of Technology.

     Göteborg University.


     Corresponding author email:  [email protected], fax:  +46-31-7722785.

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