Multi-vesicular Vesicles

This video highlights different sealing behavior when a multivesicular vesicle (a vesicle containing many smaller vesicles) bursts. These two vesicles were placed in the same hypotonic solution. Both vesicles swell due to the osmotic imbalance, eventually bursting under the increasing strain. Once the strain is released, each vesicle will spontaneously reseal. In one case the sealing occurs cleanly, while in the second, there is a tangle of lipid protrusions on the surface. Understanding what drives clean and tangled resealing could add insight into physiologically relevant membrane behavior as well as pointing the way to more precise artificial drug delivery systems.


A sequence of spontaneous shape transformations of a giant unilaminar vesicle. It is nearly 5 microns across, about the size of a single red blood cell. Thermal oscillations of the membrane drives the changes seen in this image. This models the shape energetics of red blood cells, a feature crucial for transporting oxygen throughout the body.
A series of shape changes in lipid vesicle

Nanoparticle Galaxy 

When an aqueous suspension of nanoparticles consisted of polymers is exposed to air, the adsorption and aggregation of those nanoparticles form a glaxy-like structure at the air-water interface. This top-view image was captured by a confocal microscope. The light came from the fluorescent emission of dye molecules encapsulated in the nanoparticles. The area shown in the image is approximately 2.5 by 2.0 mm
A series of shape changes in lipid vesicle

Blooming Flowers

When a small quantity of oil (a linear alkane) is deposited on the surface of an aqueous solution of detergent molecules, the oil spreads into a thin film and then ruptures. Multiple holes appear in the film, and the oil ridges around the growing holes transform into intricate petal-like patterns in a process that is similar to the breakup of a liquid filament into droplets. These films with growing holes are like gardens of blooming interfacial flowers. This top-view image was captured with a standard digital SLR camera and macro lens. The rainbow colored patterns are created by the interference of light from an LED panel and they reveal the structure of the oil film. The area shown in the image is approximately 1.7 by 1.3 cm.
A series of shape changes in lipid vesicle

Dancing Fringes

When you look at a small bubble at the interface, you will see dancing interference fringes induced by marginal regeneration. The dance of the interference fringes, which represents iso-thickness lines of the bubble film, results from the convection motion developed over the bubble cap. This motion consists of the periodic emission of spaced plumes from the edge of the cap. Once they have left the pinching zone, the thinner plumes rise because of their positive buoyancy with respect to the surrounding thicker portions of the film. The area shown in the image is approximately 2.0 by 0.5 cm.