Preparation and characterization of asymmetric planar supported bilayers composed of poly(bis-sorbylphosphatidylcholine) on n-octadecyltrichlorosilane SAMs

Saliya N. Ratnayaka, Ronald J. Wysocki, S. Scott Saavedra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Planar supported lipid bilayers (PSLBs) have been widely studied as biomembrane models and biosensor scaffolds. For technological applications, a major limitation of PSLBs composed of fluid lipids is that the bilayer structure is readily disrupted when exposed to chemical, mechanical, and thermal stresses. A number of asymmetric supported bilayer structures, such as the hybrid bilayer membrane (HBM) and the tethered bilayer lipid membrane (tBLM), have been created as an alternative to symmetric PSLBs. In both HBMs and tBLMs, the inner monolayer is covalently attached to the substrate while the outer monolayer is typically composed of a fluid lipid. Here we address if cross-linking polymerization of the lipids in the outer monolayer of an asymmetric supported bilayer can achieve the high degree of stability observed previously for symmetric PSLBs in which both monolayers are cross-linked [E.E. Ross, L.J. Rozanski, T. Spratt, S.C. Liu, D.F. O'Brien, S.S. Saavedra, Langmuir 19 (2003) 1752]. To explore this issue, HBMs composed of an outer monolayer of a cross-linkable lipid, bis-sorbylphosphatidylcholine (bis-SorbPC), and an inner SAM were prepared and characterized. Several experimental conditions were varied: vesicle fusion time, polymerization method, and polymerization time and temperature. Under most conditions, bis-SorbPC cross-linking stabilized the HBM such that its bilayer structure was largely preserved after drying; however these films invariably contained sub-micron scale defects that exposed the hydrophobic core of the HBM. The defects appear to be caused by desorption of low molecular weight oligomers when the film is removed from water, rinsed, and dried. In contrast, poly(bis-SorbPC) PSLBs prepared under similar conditions by Ross et al. were nearly defect free. This comparison shows that formation of a cross-linked network in the outer leaflet of an asymmetric supported bilayer is insufficient to prevent lipid desorption; inter-leaflet covalent linking appears to be necessary to create supported poly(lipid) assemblies that are impervious to repeated drying and rehydration. The difference in stability is attributed to inter-leaflet cross-linking between monolayers which can form in symmetric bis-SorbPC PSLBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Asymmetric supported bilayer
  • Bis-SorbPC
  • Hybrid bilayer membrane
  • Lipid polymerization
  • Lipo-polymer
  • Poly(lipid)
  • SAM
  • Self-assembled monolayer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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