One of the major bottlenecks in the development of biochips is maintaining the structure and function of biomolecules when interfacing them with hard matter (glass, plastics, metals, etc.), a challenge that is exacerbated during miniaturization that inevitably increases the interface to volume ratio of these devices. Biochips based on immobilized vesicles circumvent this problem by encapsulating biomolecules in the protective environment of a lipid bilayer, thus minimizing interactions with hard surfaces. Here we review the development of biochips based on arrays of single nanoscale vesicles, their fabrication via controlled self-assembly, and their characterization using fluorescence microscopy. We also highlight their applications in selected fields such as nanofluidics and single molecule bioscience. Despite their great potential for improved biocompatibility, extreme miniaturization and high throughput, single vesicle biochips are still a niche technology that has yet to establish its commercial relevance.
Lab on a Chip, 2013, Vol 13, Issue 18, p. 3613-3625