This paper introduces the concept of hydrogel encapsulated interface bilayers as a novel approach for creating durable encapsulated biomolecular materials. The regulated attachment method (RAM) is used to form encapsulated interface bilayers from lipid-encased aqueous volumes contained in a deformable supporting substrate. Physically-encapsulated interface bilayers exhibit increased durability and portability over droplet interface bilayedrs and RAM enables the in situ bilayer formation without the need to dispense and arrange individual droplets. The results presented in this paper demonstrate that poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate monomers (PEG-DMA, Mw = 1000), a photopolymerizable hydrogel monomer, and Irgacure 2959 photoinitiator can be incorporated into the aqueous phase in order to form hydrogel encapsulated interface bilayers. Following bilayer formation, exposure to an ultraviolet (UV) light initiates photopolymerization of the polymer on both sides of the bilayer, creating interface bilayers between solid aqueous phases. Electrical recordings of bilayer formation in the liquid state confirm that interface bilayers formed from photopolymerizable aqueous solutions have both high electrical resistances > 1GΩ necessary for observing transmembrane protein gating and survive the UV curing procedure required to polymerize the hydrogel. Photopolymerization for 60 seconds using a 1W hand held UV spot cure light produced water-swollen solids on both sides of the membrane. Hydrogel encapsulated interface bilayers last for hours to days and retain the fluidity necessary for delivering alamethicin proteins to the interface.

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