This paper presents a novel method for supporting planar lipid bilayers using microcontact printed lipophilic self-assembled monolayers, in such a way as to retain their capacity to support biological functionality. Impedance spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance, and atomic force microscopy are used to monitor the formation and investigate the properties of the supported bilayers. In addition, we show that the antibiotic peptide gramicidin and the ionophore valinomycin exhibit the expected ion selectivity. Finally, scanning force microscopy measurements show surface friction changes following bilayer formation. Chemically modified tips were used to obtain information about both the energy of the surface (hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature) and the mechanical properties of the surface.
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