A wet photolithographic route for micropatterning fluid phospholipid bilayers is demonstrated in which spatially directed illumination by short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation results in highly localized photochemical degradation of the exposed lipids. Using this method, we can directly engineer patterns of hydrophilic voids within a fluid membrane as well as isolated membrane corrals over large substrate areas. We show that the lipid-free regions can be refilled by the same or other lipids and lipid mixtures which establish contiguity with the existing membrane, thereby providing a synthetic means for manipulating membrane compositions, engineering metastable membrane microdomains, probing 2D lipid-lipid mixing, and designing membrane-embedded arrays of soluble proteins. Following this route, new constructs can be envisaged for high-throughput membrane proteomic, biosensor array, and spatially directed, aqueous- phase material synthesis.
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