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Driven Engulfment of Janus Particles by Giant Vesicles in and out of Thermal Equilibrium

Vaibhav Sharma, Carlos M Marques, Antonio Stocco
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(9), 1434

The interaction between Janus colloids and giant lipid vesicles was experimentally investigated to elucidate the dynamics and mechanisms related to microparticle engulfment by lipid vesicles. Janus (Pt–SiO2 and Pt–MF, where MF is melamine formaldehyde) colloids do not spontaneously adhere to POPC or DOPC bilayers, but by applying external forces via centrifugation we were able to force the contact between the particles and the membranes, which may result in a partial engulfment state of the particle. Surface properties of the Janus colloids play a crucial role in the driven particle engulfment by vesicles. Engulfment of the silica and platinum regions of the Janus particles can be observed, whereas the polymer (MF) region does not show any affinity towards the lipid bilayer. By using fluorescence microscopy, we were able to monitor the particle orientation and measure the rotational dynamics of a single Janus particle engulfed by a vesicle. By adding hydrogen peroxide to the solution, particle self-propulsion was used to perform an active transport of a giant vesicle by a single active particle. Finally, we observe that partially engulfed particles experience a membrane curvature-induced force, which pushes the colloids towards the bottom where the membrane curvature is the lowest.

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