We report herein measurements on a novel type of supported lipid films, which we call painted supported membranes (PSM).
These membranes are formed in a self-assembly process on alkylated gold films from an organic solution. The formation process was
investigated with surface plasmon resonance microscopy. The optical and electrical properties of the films were determined for various
types of lipids and as a function of temperature by means of cyclic voltammetry and potential relaxation after charge injection. We could
show that these films exhibit an extraordinarily high specific resistivity which, depending on the lipid, may be as high as 109 ohm/cm2.
We could also show that due to this low conductivity, an electrical polarization across the PSM relaxes with characteristic time constants
of up to 20 min. The electrical properties together with their high mechanical stability and accessibility to surface sensitive techniques
make these films well suitable model membranes for optical and electrical investigations. Examples for such applications are given in the
subsequent article by Seifert et al.