Biological amphiphiles, such as the lipids that make up the fabric of the cell membrane, can self-assemble into a diverse range of one-, two-, and three-dimensional structures. The factors governing this self-assembly take into account the shape of the lipid molecule and the medium within which it resides. Recent work has shown that it is possible to utilize these structures not only to further our understanding of biological processes but also in the development of new, nanoscale functional materials. This chapter outlines the rationale behind the self-assembly behavior of lipids and shows the diversity and complexity of the structures that these relatively simple molecules can adopt. It then addresses recent developments in the formation, characterization, and application of a particular class of three-dimensional structures, the inverse bicontinuous cubic phases and demonstrates how these materials are being incorporated into microfluidics for protein crystallization, templated to produce novel geometries, and imaged using atomic force microscopy. Future research directions for these materials and their potential, in particular in structural biology, are also highlighted.
|Number of pages||34|
|Journal||Advances in Planar Lipid Bilayers and Liposomes|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Aug 2013|
- Cubic phase