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Radio Frequency Tank Circuit for Probing Planar Lipid Bilayers

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DOI: 10.4236/snl.2013.34016    2,850 Downloads   4,327 Views Citations


We present first results from a hybrid coplanar waveguide microfluidic tank circuit for monitoring lipid bilayer formation and fluctuations of integrated proteins. The coplanar waveguide is a radio frequency resonator operating at ~250 MHz. Changes within the integrated microfluidic chamber, such as vesicle bursting and subsequent nanopore formation alter the reflected signal, and can be detected with nanosecond resolution. We show experimental evidence of such alterations when the microfluidic channel is filled with giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs). Subsequent settling and bursting of the GUVs form planar lipid bilayers, yielding a detectable change in the resonant frequency of the device. Results from finite element simulations of our device correlate well with our experimental evidence. These simulations also indicate that nanopore formation within the bilayer is easily detectable. The simulated structure allows for incorporation of microfluidics as well as simultaneous RF and DC recordings. The technique holds promise for high throughput drug screening applications and could also be used as an in-plane probe for various other applications. It opens up possibilities of exploring ion channels and other nano scale pores in a whole new frequency band allowing for operating at bandwidths well above the traditional DC methods.

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A. Bhat, J. Rodriguez, H. Qin, H. Shin, H. Shin, J. Clobes, D. Kreft, J. Park, E. Stava, M. Yu and R. H. Blick, "Radio Frequency Tank Circuit for Probing Planar Lipid Bilayers," Soft Nanoscience Letters, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 87-92. doi: 10.4236/snl.2013.34016.

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