We report the formation of a new class of supported membranes consisting of a fluid phospholipid bilayer coupled directly to a broadly tunable colloidal crystal with a well-defined photonic band gap. For nanoscale colloidal crystals exhibiting a band gap at the optical frequencies, substrate-induced vesicle fusion gives rise to a surface bilayer riding onto the crystal surface. The bilayer is two-dimensionally continuous, spanning multiple beads with lateral mobilities which reflect the coupling between the bilayer topography and the curvature of the supporting colloidal surface. In contrast, the spreading of vesicles on micrometer scale colloidal crystals results in the formation of bilayers wrapping individual colloidal beads. We show that simple UV photolithography of colloidal crystals produces binary patterns of crystal wettabilities, photonic stopbands, and corresponding patterns of lipid mono- and bilayer morphologies. We envisage that these approaches will be exploitable for the development of optical transduction assays and microarrays for many membrane-mediated processes, including transport and receptor-ligand interactions.
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