A new method was presented to investigate the interactions between membrane receptors and their ligands in an artificial, reconstituted membrane system. Lipid bilayers were anchored via covalently attached thiolipids to TiO2/SiO2 waveguide surfaces to produce mech. stable, long-lasting, and reusable membranes. The coupling scheme was designed to keep the membrane at a distance from the surface, thus maintaining a certain membrane flexibility and allowing for an aq. phase between the surface and bilayer. The method yielded imperfect, covalently bound thiolipid layers which can be converted to lipid bilayers by self-assembly of phospholipids. [on SciFinder (R)]