Home > Research > Lipid Bilayers

JPEGPhospholipids self-assemble in solution as fluid bilayers of typically 5 nm thickness, leading to lamellae structures of planar, cylindrical, spherical or even more complex geometries. When the bilayers enclose an inner spherical or cylindrical space one refers to these assemblies as vesicles or liposomes. In the living realm, where phospholipid bilayers build the walls of cells and cellular organelles, vesicles and liposomes provide simple models to understand cell wall properties: transport, fusion, mechanical resistance... Depending on the actual self-assembly conditions, single or multiple layer vesicles can be prepared in a large size range, from liposomes as small as a few tens of nanometers to giant unilamellar
vesicles (GUVs) as large as one tenth of a millimetre. Following seminal work by Helfrich, who first recognized the importance of the membrane bending elasticity, extensive theoretical and experimental studies contributed to the writing of one of the finest chapters in modern statistical physics of soft condensed matter. Interestingly, fluid bilayers also inspired many fundamental studies in Mathematics, particularly in topology and differential geometry, some of these studies bearing a direct impact on the physical description of the membranes. Research in the field of two-dimensional lipid assembly is now opening exciting new perspectives towards many new directions, an effort that we are proud to join and keen to contribute to.

Articles in this section

  • New Giant Unilamellar Vesicles

    Giant Unilamellar Vesicles are a choice system for studying and micro-manipulating lipid bilayers under an optical microscope, providing information on structure or mechanical properties. Figure 1: Electroformation of giant unilamellar vesicles from an inverse phase precursor, allowing the (...)

  • Supported bilayer

    We describe here differents work we have done the last 10 years in order to investigate physical properties of supported bialyer (for reviews see ). We have developed an original model system consisting in double supported bilayers: two bilayers separated by a thin (2 nm) water layer .
    The (...)

  • Phase Coexistence and Domain Formation in Lipid Bilayers

    As soon as one considers membranes comprising two lipid species or more, and biological membranes have a very complex composition indeed, one expects the possibility of lipid segregation. On the other hand, it is natural to assemble lipids of complementary physical and chemical properties (...)

  • DNA – Membrane Interactions

    We have developed a technique to study interactions between a fluid membrane and a single polymer, two soft objects subject to thermal fluctuations . We graft long lambda-phage DNAs by one or both ends on a flat substrate coated with streptavidin receptors, and induce adhesion of giant vesicles (...)

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