BLM Cells    Teflon Partitions   Cell Holders

BLM Cells.
BC-20A and BC-30A,D BLM chambers (shown above) are milled from white Teflon. These BLM cells can be used for both Mueller or Montall/Mueller type membranes.  Each cell consist of two similar Teflon blocks, each one with two D=1.5 mm channels for perfusion, drilled at 45 degree.  Blocks are connected together with two nylon screws (replacement part NM4-20) and designed to hold 0.025-0.1 mm Teflon partition in between. 8 mm diameter opening in the middle of partition supporting wall allow easy access to the hole used for BLM formation. Sides of are covered with optical grade glass and sealed with silicon rubber.  Fit our standard cell holders.   Larger size of BC-30A, and 9 mm diameter wells for stirring bars, allow simultaneous stirring of both compartments.  You may find this cell more convenient for most projects that do not require high quality imaging of membrane.  BC-20B cell is similar but has asymmetric cis/trans compartments.  Large compartment (same as in BC-30A) allows easy stirring and access to BLM.  Small one, with short distance between BLM and glass wall, permits use of more powerful microscope objectives and also reduces dilution of studied material several fold.   BC-30D BLM cell is a three compartment cell.  With this cell it is possible to run two experiments in parallel, compare parameters literally side by side or just accumulate statistics almost twice as fast as with regular BLM cell.


BCH-1 cells is designed for formation of horizontal BLMs.  It can be used for experiments on live cell/BLM interaction or when high resolution images of BLM are needed.  Cell consists of the upper cup, machined from Delrin (D) or Teflon (T)* and the lower plastic mini dish with a glass bottom (Replacement dish part #MD-1). Horizontal BLM is formed over a hole in thin Teflon film attached to the bottom flat surface of the cup (TP-XX or other partitions can be used).  The distance between BLM and microscope objective is about 1 mm, allowing use of powerful objective lenses.  Horizontal cell can be installed on a specimen table of almost any inverted microscope. If stable elevated temperature is required, we recommend BCH-1 cell with optional MD-2 mini dish.  This dish is similar to MD-1 but has a transparent conductive layer for DC current heating.  In combination with an electronic controller it will provide excellent temperature regulation.
Part # BCH-1D / BCH-1T


BCH-2 chamber is designed for high resolution imaging of horizontal BLMs.  It consists of a Teflon cup with outer thread and black Delrin body with matching inner thread.  Bottom of the body is made from #1.5 cover slip.  It has two 3 mm holes for attaching to microscope specimen table and two 6 mm diameter wells for electrode placement and perfusion; fluid in these wells is connected to fluid at trans side BLM via channels milled in Delrin.  BLM is formed with cup screwed into the body about 0.5-1 mm from the bottom.  After that cup can be  smoothly moved down under visual control of membrane.   Pipette transfer of some fluid from wells in the body into the cup will keep hydrostatic pressure at balance.  When membrane is placed within 0.05-0.1 mm from glass bottom, a high NA oil objective can be used for imaging.





Part #
Dimensions (mm)
Volume** (ml)
Glass to BLM distance (mm)
h-10, d-35


Body -D-38, h-8; / Cup - OD-15, ID-13,  h - 10

0.5 /0.6


Teflon partitions are not included. TP-XX partitions can be used with any of these cells.  If you need fully assembled and tested cell with installed partition please add "M01" or "M02" at the end of BLM cell part number (example: BC-20AM01 = BC-20A with TP-01 partition mounted).  This will add $35.00 to the price of bare cell.

* Both material are perfect electrical insulators but have different chemical resistance.  Teflon allows cleaning with any organic solvents or acids; Delrin is also resistant to most commonly used cleaners but may deteriorate after prolonged exposure to certain chemicals.  
** Working volume, correspond to approximately 2/3 cell maximum filling.

Classic BLM Chamber
Sometimes called "classic" this type of BLM cell is similar to used originally for making first planar membranes.  Our "classic" chamber (Part # BCM-1)consist of the body with round glass window, and the cup that is inserted into the body to form cell with two compartments as required for membrane formation.  Both parts are made from pure Teflon.  While Teflon parts are more difficult to manufacture than Delrin or other plastics, this chamber have superior parameters for BLM formation, and is easy to clean using any organic solvent or aggressive (peroxide, hydroxide etc.) based washing solutions.  Cups (Part #  BCM-1C) are supplied without a hole.  You can make required size hole using an appropriate drill or specially prepared syringe needle (detailed instructions provided) or we can made a hole of a specified size (0.3-1.5 mm) for an extra $25.00


Dimensions - 20x30x36 mm
Window diameter - 14 mm
Cup to window distance - 13 mm
Volume outside cup - 2 ml

Height - 25 mm
Inside diameter - 14.5 mm
Outside diameter - 18 mm
Wall thickness at the hole region - 0.3-0.5 mm

Teflon partitions.
A number of standard hole sizes in Teflon partitions are available.  Other sizes (0.01 - 1.5 mm), calibrated holes and arrays of holes are available as special orders.  Small holes in thin film (D ~ 0.01 - 0.2 mm) are preferable for "solvent-free" Montal type membranes, and larger holes (TP-05, TP-10) are good for decane based Mueller membranes.  Holes are made in the middle of ~20 mm square Teflon film.  For training purposes or for experiments that are not critical to a hole size we offer inexpensive TP-0X partitions.  They are a mix of a different hole sizes that may have higher than normal ellipsisity, or have holes significantly off  the center of the square (but not closer than 5 mm to the edge).  Partitions with "D" index have two holes 12 mm apart in a single piece of Teflon film ~ 16x26 mm.  These partitions are designed for our three compartment BLM chambers.  Image of a single hole shown here was captured with BVS-100 video system equipped with 20X lens.  Scale bar - 50 micrometers.  Image on the right show fragment of the array of holes at lower magnification.
Hole Diameter, mm
Film Thickness, mm
TF-12 0.008-0.016* 0.01-0.013
TF-30 0.025-0.035 0.01-0.013
TF-50 0.04-0.06 0.01-0.013
TP-03 0.25-0.35 0.02
TP-0X 0.015-0.35 0.02

* - For this size range deviations from the ideal circle are significant.  If this parameter is important please order few for testing before ordering large quantities.

Cell Holders
We offer a variety of holders for BC-20/30 and BCH-1A BLM cells. All holders are made from magnetically transparent metals, painted (except one side that left bare for electrical connection with positioner) and have holes for M4 mounting screw.  Budget type (CH-20, CH-30) are bent from 0.5 mm aluminum or brass, and when mounted on an appropriate positioner, simply provide support for the cell.  RH12/12M stirrer motors can be attached to the holder bottom using adhesive. CH-20A, CH 30A holders are designed primarily for experiments with temperature control, and have massive bottom panel milled from 6 mm aluminum.  This panel has a slot for screw mounting of RH12/12M stirrer motors, M2.5 threaded hole for attaching of HA-5M heater, and 5 mm side hole for AD592 temperature sensor.  CH-01 holder for BCH-1A chamber is 11x6 cm (4-1/4"x2-3/8") aluminum plate with 35 mm diameter hole in the middle and two 4 mm holes for mounting of electrode holders.  Black finish top side and bare metal bottom side.

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01-18-17  BLMCell.html