Ferrofluid-Based Droplet Interface Bilayer Networks

Michelle Makhoul-Mansour, Wujun Zhao, Nicole Gay, Colleen O'Connor, Joseph S. Najem, Leidong Mao, Eric C. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Droplet interface bilayer (DIB) networks allow for the construction of stimuli-responsive, membrane-based materials. Traditionally used for studying cellular transport phenomena, the DIB technique has proven its practicality when creating structured droplet networks. These structures consist of aqueous compartments capable of exchanging their contents across membranous barriers in a regulated fashion via embedded biomolecules, thus approximating the activity of natural cellular systems. However, lipid bilayer networks are often static and incapable of any reconfiguration in their architecture. In this study, we investigate the incorporation of a magnetic fluid or ferrofluid within the droplet phases for the creation of magnetically responsive DIB arrays. The impact of adding ferrofluid to the aqueous phases of the DIB networks is assessed by examining the bilayers' interfacial tensions, thickness, and channel activity. Once compatibility is established, potential applications of the ferrofluid-enabled DIBs are showcased by remotely modifying membrane qualities through magnetic fields. Ferrofluids do not significantly alter the bilayers' properties or functionality and can therefore be safely embedded within the DIB platform, allowing for remote manipulation of the interfacial bilayer properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13000-13007
Number of pages8
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 14 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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