Granick Research Group
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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The nonspecific adsorption of charged nanoparticles onto single component phospholipids bilayers bearing phosphocholine headgroups is shown, from fluorescence and calorimetry experiments, to cause surface reconstruction at the points where nanoparticles adsorb. Nanoparticles of negative charge induce local gelation in otherwise fluid bilayers; nanoparticles of positive charge induce otherwise gelled membranes to fluidize locally. Through this mechanism, the phase state deviates from the nominal phase transition temperature by tens of degrees. This work generalizes the notions of environmentally induced surface reconstruction, prominent in metals and semiconductors. Bearing in mind that chemical composition in these single-component lipid bilayers is the same everywhere, this offers a mechanism to generate patchy functional properties in phospholipid membranes.


  1. Yan Yu, Julie A. Vroman, Sung Chul Bae, and Steve Granick, "Vesicle Budding Induced by Pore-Forming Peptide," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 195 (2010). [PDF] Highlighted: Nature 463, 439 (2010) [PDF].

  2. Yan Yu and Steve Granick, "Pearling of Lipid Vesicles Induced by Nanoparticles," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 31, 14158 (2009). [PDF]

  3. Bo Wang, Liangfang Zhang, Sung Chul Bae, and Steve Granick, "Nanoparticle-Induced Surface Reconstruction of Phospholipid Membranes," Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. 105, 18171 (2008). [PDF]
  4. L. Zhang, S. Granick, "How to Stabilize Phospholipid Liposomes (Using Nanoparticles)", Nano Lett. 6, 694 (2006). [PDF] Highlighted: Science 311, 1347 (2006) [PDF]; Nature Materials 5, 249 (2006) [PDF].
  5. L. Zhang, S. Granick, "Slaved diffusion in phospholipid bilayers", Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 9118 (2005). [PDF] [In the news]

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The Granick research group is an affiliated member of the Materials Research Laboratory,
the Beckman Institute, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology.