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Biology/Chemistry question

Hi all,
Here is a biology/chemistry question I was wondering about:

Say I wanted to puncture and burst liposomes or a small bilayer membranes with a microscopic needle/s, what would you suggest to make the needles from, or how would you assort them so they will burst the liposomes as efficiently as possible?

2 Solutions
A new method to study lipid bilayers is Atomic force microscopy (AFM).
Rather than using a beam of light or particles,

a very small sharpened tip scans the surface by making physical contact with the bilayer and moving across it, like a record player needle. <<<<<<<

source: wikipedia

www.linkinghib mentions a 25 guage needle:
The release was characterized with an initial liposome burst, .... Microspheres of this size range are either s.c. or i.m. injectable through a 25-gauge needle
pixiepowderAuthor Commented:
Hi Nick,
Thanks, I know about AFM, it is an impressive method.
But I am not interested in studying but quite the contrary, to destroy by touch.
Any thoughts there?
Glass is interesting in that if you melt it and pull it like taffy it can be thinned to micron size.  And it will keep its cross sectional shape.  That is how they make glass micropipettes.


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Have you tried steel probes yet?  They're as small as 0.1mm, which is almost half the diameter of a 34ga needle.

Tungsten manipulator as small as 6 micron:

pixiepowderAuthor Commented:
would a prick of a glass micro-needle puncture a membrane or tear it?
tear is what I am aiming for. I was thinking more to the detergent decorated sting.
have you completed your task on this?
Your most recent comment was:
"would a prick of a glass micro-needle puncture a membrane or tear it?
tear is what I am aiming for. I was thinking more to the detergent decorated sting."

Here is part of an article and being PDF I can not copy the link.
I'll highlight the part that references micro needle and tears.

Living cells have been explored by a variety of methods.
Abundant information comes from micromanipulation.. Robert Chambers made
the study that certain cells had the ability to heal wounds or
repair tears in their plasma membrane that were deliberately inflicted by microneedles, provided that calcium was present.

So, in conclusion, yes, microneedles can be used for membrane tears.
Electroporation, the application of an extrememly brief pulses of a large electric, would do it. The field has to be of sufficient strength to impose approximately 1 volt across a typical bilayer membrane. The smaller the liposome or cell, the stronger the field needs to be. We're talking of the order of about a kilovolt per millimetre for mammalian cells.

James MurrellProduct SpecialistCommented:
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