Nature-Inspired Design and Application of Lipidic Lyotropic Liquid Crystals

Raffaele Mezzenga, John M. Seddon, Calum J. Drummond, Ben J. Boyd, Gerd E. Schröder-Turk, Laurent Sagalowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


Amphiphilic lipids aggregate in aqueous solution into a variety of structural arrangements. Among the plethora of ordered structures that have been reported, many have also been observed in nature. In addition, due to their unique morphologies, the hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains, very high internal interfacial surface area, and the multitude of possible order−order transitions depending on environmental changes, very promising applications have been developed for these systems in recent years. These include crystallization in inverse bicontinuous cubic phases for membrane protein structure determination, generation of advanced materials, sustained release of bioactive molecules, and control of chemical reactions. The outstanding diverse functionalities of lyotropic liquid crystalline phases found in nature and industry are closely related to the topology, including how their nanoscopic domains are organized. This leads to notable examples of correlation between structure and macroscopic properties, which is itself central to the performance of materials in general. The physical origin of the formation of the known classes of lipidic lyotropic liquid crystalline phases, their structure, and their occurrence in nature are described, and their application in materials science and engineering, biology, medical, and pharmaceutical products, and food science and technology are exemplified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900818
Number of pages19
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • bicontinous cubic phases
  • lipid self-assembly
  • lipidic mesophases
  • liquid crystals
  • nanoconfinement

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