Label-Free Time-Resolved Monitoring of Photolipid Bilayer Isomerization by Plasmonic Sensing

Jinhua Zhang, Francis Schuknecht, Ludwig Habermann, Alexander Pattis, Jonathan Heine, Stefanie D. Pritzl, Dirk Trauner, Theobald Lohmüller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The photo-isomerization of the photolipid azo-PC, a derivative of phosphatidylcholine containing an azobenzene group in its sn2 acyl chain, enables optical control over key properties of supported lipid bilayers (SLBs), such as membrane fluidity and bilayer thickness. However, azobenzenes are well-known for their interaction with various dyes through photo-modulation and -sensitization pathways, presenting a challenge in bilayer characterization by fluorescence microscopy. Label-free tools capable of monitoring the switching process of photolipid SLBs at the nanoscale are therefore highly desired. In this study, the use of dark field scattering spectroscopy on gold nanorods as a highly sensitive approach is demonstrated for analyzing the reversible photo-isomerization dynamics of photolipid SLBs in real time at the single particle level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2302266
JournalAdvanced Optical Materials
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2024


  • azobenzene
  • photolipids
  • plasmonic sensing
  • supported bilayer membranes


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