Pore spanning lipid bilayers on silanised nanoporous alumina membranes

Abdul Mutalib Md Jani, Jinwen Zhou, Matthew R. Nussio, Dusan Losic, Joe G. Shapter, Nicolas H. Voelcker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The preparation of bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs) on solid surfaces is important for many studies probing various important biological phenomena including the cell barrier properties, ion-channels, biosensing, drug discovery and protein/ligand interactions. In this work we present new membrane platforms based on suspended BLMs on nanoporous anodic aluminium oxide (AAO) membranes. AAO membranes were prepared by electrochemical anodisation of aluminium foil in 0.3 M oxalic acid using a custom-built etching cell and applying voltage of 40 V, at 1°C. AAO membranes with controlled diameter of pores from 30-40 nm (top of membrane) and 60 -70 nm (bottom of membrane) were fabricated. Pore dimensions have been confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). AAO membranes were chemically functionalised with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES). Confirmation of the APTES attachment to the AAO membrane was achieved by means of infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and contact angle measurements. The Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra of functionalised membranes show several peaks from 2800 to 3000 cm -1 which were assigned to symmetric and antisymmetric CH 2 bands. XPS data of the membrane showed a distinct increase in Cls (285 eV), Nls (402 eV) and Si2p (102 eV) peaks after silanisation. The water contact angle of the functionalised membrane was 80° as compared to 20° for the untreated membrane. The formation of BLMs comprising dioleoyl-phosphatidylserine (DOPS) on APTES-modified AAO membranes was carried using the vesicle spreading technique. AFM imaging and force spectroscopy was used to characterise the structural and nanomechanical properties of the suspended membrane. This technique also confirmed the stability of bilayers on the nanoporous alumina support for several days. Fabricated suspended BLMs on nanoporous AAO hold promise for the construction of biomimetic membrane architectures with embedded transmembrane proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventSmart Materials V - Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Duration: 10 Dec 200812 Dec 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceSmart Materials V
CityMelbourne, VIC


  • Artificial membranes
  • Lipid bilayers
  • Nanoporous alumina membranes

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