Droplet Polymer Bilayers for Bioelectronic Membrane Interfacing

Emily A. Schafer, Joshua J. Maraj, Camryn Kenney, Stephen A. Sarles, Jonathan Rivnay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Model membranes interfaced with bioelectronics allow for the exploration of fundamental cell processes and the design of biomimetic sensors. Organic conducting polymers are an attractive surface on which to study the electrical properties of membranes because of their low impedance, high biocompatibility, and hygroscopic nature. However, establishing supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) on conducting polymers has lagged significantly behind other substrate materials, namely, for challenges in membrane electrical sealing and stability. Unlike SLBs that are highly dependent on surface interactions, droplet interface bilayers (DIBs) and droplet hydrogel bilayers (DHBs) leverage the energetically favorable organization of phospholipids at atomically smooth liquid interfaces to build high-integrity membranes. For the first time, we report the formation of droplet polymer bilayers (DPBs) between a lipid-coated aqueous droplet and the high-performing conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS). The resulting bilayers can be produced from a range of lipid compositions and demonstrate strong electrical sealing that outcompetes SLBs. DPBs are subsequently translated to patterned and planar microelectrode arrays to ease barriers to implementation and improve the reliability of membrane formation. This platform enables more reproducible and robust membranes on conducting polymers to further the mission of merging bioelectronics and synthetic, natural, or hybrid bilayer membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14391-14396
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 29 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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