Nanoparticles are widely studied for their potential medical uses in diagnostics and therapeutics. The interface between a nanoparticle and its target has been a focus of research, both to guide the nanoparticle and to prevent it from deactivating. Given nature's frequent use of phospholipid vesicles as carriers, much attention has been paid to phospholipids as a vehicle for drug delivery.

The physical chemistry of bilayer formation and nanoparticle encapsulation is complex, touching on fundamental properties of hydrophobicity. Understanding the design rules for particle synthesis and encapsulation is an active area of research.

The aim of this review is to provide a perspective on what preparative guideposts have been empirically discovered and how these are related to theoretical understanding. In addition, we aim to summarize how modern theory is beginning to help guide the design of functional particles that can effectively cross biological membranes.


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