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Nanotechnology. 2018 Mar 16;29(11):115702. doi: 10.1088/1361-6528/aaa77b.

Understanding carbon nanotube channel formation in the lipid membrane.

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School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea.


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been considered a prominent nano-channel in cell membranes because of their prominent ion-conductance and ion-selectivity, offering agents for a biomimetic channel platform. Using a coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation, we clarify a construction mechanism of vertical CNT nano-channels in a lipid membrane for a long period, which has been difficult to observe in previous CNT-lipid interaction simulations. The result shows that both the lipid coating density and length of CNT affect the suitable fabrication condition for a vertical and stable CNT channel. Also, simulation elucidated that a lipid coating on the surface of the CNT prevents the CNT from burrowing into the lipid membrane and the vertical channel is stabilized by the repulsion force between the lipids in the coating and membrane. Our study provides an essential understanding of how CNTs can form stable and vertical channels in the membrane, which is important for designing new types of artificial channels as biosensors for bio-fluidic studies.


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