Nanoparticle interactions at biointerfaces

A nanoparticle – lipid membrane interaction platform

Within NanoSphere we are developing a platform for screening of nanoparticle interactions at model interfaces. Our focus is on well-controlled lipid membranes and the main analytical technique that is used in these studies is the Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) technique. An animation describing the different steps in such an experiment can be found here.

The lipid membrane platform has previously been applied to the study of nanodrugs, and ongoing studies focus on e.g. TiO2 (synthesized within NanoSphere) and commercial graphene-based nanomaterials. In some cases, the formation of holes in the test membranes has been detected.


This illustration shows a suggested scenario for how membrane patches are removed from a model membrane when exposed to nanoparticles.



Frost, R., and Svedhem, S., Characterization of nanoparticle – lipid membrane interactions using QCM-D, Springer Protocols, in press.

Frost, R., Grandfils, C., Cerda, B., Kasemo, B., and Svedhem, S. The interaction of polycationic nanoparticles for drug delivery with biomimetic model membranes, Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology, 2:181-193, 2011

Can changes in cells in response to nanoparticle exposure be monitored by QCM-D?

In a collaboration between the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (GU) and the department of Applied Physics (Chalmers) the QCM-D technology is applied in studies of living cells.

This on-going research aims at exploring whether the QCM-D technology can be used to characterize changes in cells attached to surfaces. In the analyses, the cells are exposed to known drug molecules, as well as to nanomaterials, to learn what QCM-D responses various cellular effects generate and what the effects of the nanomaterials are.

The use of QCM-D in cell studies is increasing and has previously been successfully been employed to study cell attachment and spreading on surfaces as well as in toxicity studies.

An illustration of combined QCM-D and light microscopy carried out in a windowed QCM-D module (from Q-Sense Application Note 405-13-1)

Contact person

Sofia Svedhem

Page Manager: Robert Karlsson|Last update: 11/17/2014

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