In Situ AFM Imaging of Adsorption Kinetics of DPPG Liposomes: A Quantitative Analysis of Surface Roughness

Andreia A. Duarte, Joaquim T. Marquês, Francisco Brasil, Ana S. Viana, Pedro Tavares, Maria Raposo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


The adsorption of intact liposomes on surfaces is of great importance for the development of sensors and drug delivery systems and, also, strongly dependent on the surface roughness where the liposomes are adsorbed. In this paper, we analyzed, by using atomic force microscopy in liquid, the evolution of the morphology of gold surfaces and of poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) surfaces with different roughness during the adsorption of liposomes prepared with the synthetic phospholipid 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-[phospho-rac-(1-glycerol)]. Our results reveal the following. On smooth surfaces of Au only and Au with PAH, the liposomes open and deploy on the substrate, creating a supported-lipid bilayer, with the opening process being faster on the Au/PAH surface. On rough substrates of Au coated with polyelectrolyte multilayers, the liposomes were adsorbed intact on the surface. This was corroborated by power spectral density analysis that demonstrates the presence of superstructures with an average lateral size of 43 and 87 nm, in accordance with two and four times the mean liposome hydrodynamic diameter of about 21 nm. In addition, this work presents an adequate and effective methodology for analysis of adsorption phenomena of liposomes on rough surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-809
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue number3
Early online date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • adsorption
  • atomic force microscopy
  • dynamic scaling analysis
  • liposome


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