Structure of carbon nanotube porins in lipid bilayers: An in situ small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) study

Ich C. Tran, Ramya H. Tunuguntla, Kyunghoon Kim, Jonathan R I Lee, Trevor M. Willey, Thomas M. Weiss, Aleksandr Noy, Tony Van Buuren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Carbon nanotube porins (CNTPs), small segments of carbon nanotubes capable of forming defined pores in lipid membranes, are important future components for bionanoelectronic devices as they could provide a robust analog of biological membrane channels. In order to control the incorporation of these CNT channels into lipid bilayers, it is important to understand the structure of the CNTPs before and after insertion into the lipid bilayer as well as the impact of such insertion on the bilayer structure. Here we employed a noninvasive in situ probe, small-angle X-ray scattering, to study the integration of CNT porins into dioleoylphosphatidylcholine bilayers. Our results show that CNTPs in solution are stabilized by a monolayer of lipid molecules wrapped around their outer surface. We also demonstrate that insertion of CNTPs into the lipid bilayer results in decreased bilayer thickness with the magnitude of this effect increasing with the concentration of CNTPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4019-4024
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon nanotube
  • Phospholipid
  • porins
  • small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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