The multifaceted role of biological membranes prompted early the development of artificial lipid-based models with a primary view of reconstituting the natural functions in vitro so as to study and exploit chemoreception for sensor engineering. Over the years, a fair amount of knowledge on the artificial lipid membranes, as both, suspended or supported lipid films and liposomes, has been disseminated and has helped to diversify and expand initial scopes. Artificial lipid membranes can be constructed by several methods, stabilized by various means, functionalized in a variety of ways, experimented upon intensively, and broadly utilized in sensor development, drug testing, drug discovery or as molecular tools and research probes for elucidating the mechanics and the mechanisms of biological membranes. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art, discusses the diversity of applications, and presents future perspectives. The newly-introduced field of artificial cells further broadens the applicability of artificial membranes in studying the evolution of life.
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