Complex multi-lamellar structures play a critical role in biological systems, where they are present as lamellar bodies, and as part of biological assemblies that control energy transduction processes. Multi-lamellar lipid layers not only provide interesting systems for fundamental research on membrane structure and bilayer-associated polypeptides, but can also serve as components in bioinspired materials or devices. Although the ability to pattern stacked lipid bilayers at the micron scale is of importance for these purposes, limited work has been done in developing such patterning techniques. Here, we present a simple and direct approach to pattern stacked supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) using polymer stencil lift-off and the electrostatic interactions between cationic and anionic lipids. Both homogeneous and phase-segregated stacked SLB patterns were produced, demonstrating that the stacked lipid bilayers retain lateral diffusivity. We demonstrate patterned SLB stacks of up to four bilayers, where fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and quenching was used to probe the interactions between lipid bilayers. Furthermore, the study of lipid phase behaviour showed that gel phase domains align between adjacent layers. The proposed stacked SLB pattern platform provides a robust model for studying lipid behaviour with a controlled number of bilayers, and an attractive means towards building functional bioinspired materials or devices.
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