A New Route to Liposil Formation by an Interfacial Sol-Gel Process Confined by Lipid Bilayer

Shukun Shen, Lu Yang, Yaxing Lu, Jian Gang Chen, Shaofei Song, Daodao Hu, Atul Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We report a new and simple approach to prepare a class of silica-reinforced liposomes with hybrid core-shell nanostructures. The amphiphilic natural structure of lipids was exploited to sequester hydrophobic molecules, namely precursor TEOS and pyrene, in the hydrophobic midplane of liposomal bilayer assemblies in the aqueous phase. Subsequent interfacial hydrolysis of TEOS at the bilayer/water interface and ensuing condensation within the hydrophobic interstices of the lipid bilayer drives silica formation in situ, producing a novel class of silica-lipid hybrid liposils. Structural characterization by scanning- and transmission electron microscopy confirm that the liposils so generated preserve closed topologies and size-monodipersity of the parent lecithin liposomes, and DSC-TGA and XRD measurements provide evidence for the silica coating. Monitoring fluorescence measurements using embedded pyrene yield detailed information on microenvironment changes, which occur during sol-gel process and shed light on the structural evolution during silica formation. We envisage that liposils formed by this simple, new approach, exploiting the hydrophobic core of the lipid bilayer to spatially localize silica-forming precursors enables preparation of stable liposils exhibiting capacity for cargo encapsulation, bicompatibility, and fluorescence monitoring, more generally opening a window for construction of stable, functional hybrid materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25039-25044
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number45
StatePublished - Jul 21 2015


  • fluorescent probe
  • interfacial sol-gel process
  • lipid bilayers
  • liposomes and vesicles
  • local molecular microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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