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December 2012 Volume 11 No 12

Stacked lipid bilayers usually display smectic order. It is now found that multicomponent stacked bilayers can also exhibit columnar order, which arises from the coupling of interlayer smectic order and intralayer phase-separated domains, and propagates across hundreds of layers. It is postulated that such long-range alignment of lipid domains is assisted by the surface tension associated with the differences in hydrogen bonding of the water molecules between coexisting phases.

Article p1074; News & Views p1005

COVER IMAGE: ATUL N. PARIKH, JIGISHA B. PARIKH AND STEVEN OERDING © UC REGENTS

COVER DESIGN: DAVID SHAND