Supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) were prepared by deposition of unilamellar vesicles on a silicon substrate. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and a new Multiple Transmission-Reflection Infrared Spectroscopy (MTR-IR) developed by us were used to trace the dynamic formation of lipid bilayers on the silicon surfaces. The evolution from deformation of vesicles to formation of bilayers can be distinguished clearly by AFM imaging. MTR-IR provided high quality infrared spectra of ultrathin lipid bilayers with high sensitivity and high signal to noise ratio (SNR). The structural and orientational changes during vesicle’s fusion were monitored with MTR-IR. MTR-IR shows superiority over other infrared approaches for ultrathin films on standard silicon wafers in view of its economy and high sensitivity. Both MTR-IR and AFM results were consistent with each other and they provided more information for understanding the self-assembling procedure of SLBs
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