Ultraflat nanostructured substrates have been used as a template to create patterned solid-supported bilayer membranes with polymerizable tethered lipids acting as diffusion barriers. Patterns in the size range of 100 nm were successfully produced and characterized. The diffusion barriers were embedded directly into the phospholipid bilayer and could be used to control the fluidity of the membrane as well as to construct isolated membrane corrals. By using nanosphere lithography to structure the templates it was possible to systematically adjust the lipid diffusion coefficients in a range comparable to those observed in cellular membranes. Single colloids applied as mask in the patterning process yielded substrates for creation of isolated fluid membrane patches corralled by diffusion barriers. Numerous potential applications for this new model system can be envisioned, ranging from the study of cellular interactions or of molecular diffusion in confined geometries to biosensor arrays.
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