Lipid membrane-assisted condensation and assembly of amphiphilic Janus particles

Amphiphilic Janus particles self-assemble into complex metastructures, but little is known about how their assembly might be modified by weak interactions with a nearby biological membrane surface. Here, we report an integrated experimental and molecular dynamics simulation study to investigate the self-assembly of amphiphilic Janus particles on a lipid membrane. We created an experimental system in which Janus particles are allowed to self-assemble in the same medium where zwitterionic lipids form giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs). Janus particles spontaneously concentrated on the inner leaflet of the GUVs. They exhibited biased orientation and heterogeneous rotational dynamics as revealed by single particle rotational tracking. The combined experimental and simulation results show that Janus particles concentrate on the lipid membranes due to weak particle–lipid attraction, whereas the biased orientation of particles is driven predominantly by inter-particle interactions. This study demonstrates the potential of using lipid membranes to influence the self-assembly of Janus particles.