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Issue 14, 2009
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Inkjet formation of unilamellar lipid vesicles for cell-like encapsulation

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Abstract

Encapsulation of macromolecules within lipid vesicles has the potential to drive biological discovery and enable development of novel, cell-like therapeutics and sensors. However, rapid and reliable production of large numbers of unilamellar vesicles loaded with unrestricted and precisely-controlled contents requires new technologies that overcome size, uniformity, and throughput limitations of existing approaches. Here we present a high-throughput microfluidic method for vesicle formation and encapsulation using an inkjet printer at rates up to 200 Hz. We show how multiple high-frequency pulses of the inkjet's piezoelectric actuator create a microfluidic jet that deforms a bilayer lipid membrane, controlling formation of individual vesicles. Variations in pulse number, pulse voltage, and solution viscosity are used to control the vesicle size. As a first step toward cell-like reconstitution using this method, we encapsulate the cytoskeletal protein actin and use co-encapsulated microspheres to track its polymerization into a densely entangled cytoskeletal network upon vesicle formation.

Graphical abstract: Inkjet formation of unilamellar lipid vesicles for cell-like encapsulation

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
11 Mar 2009
Accepted
27 May 2009
First published
08 Jun 2009

Lab Chip, 2009,9, 2003-2009
Article type
Paper

Inkjet formation of unilamellar lipid vesicles for cell-like encapsulation

J. C. Stachowiak, D. L. Richmond, T. H. Li, F. Brochard-Wyart and D. A. Fletcher, Lab Chip, 2009, 9, 2003
DOI: 10.1039/B904984C

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