In this work the authors have shown that stable gigaohm seals over micrometer-sized holes can be obtained in a time-frame of seconds by the electrophoretic self-positioning of charged lipid membranes. For the first time, single-channel events were recorded on silicon microstructures. Self-integrating channel-forming peptides, such as alamethicin are expected to have applications in screening assays based on single-channel recordings, including high-speed DNA sequencing and metabolite detection. In the future, this method could be extended by either functional reconstitution of ion channels into giant vesicles or their fusion (small proteoliposomes) into preformed bilayers. The possibility of combining this type of planar setup with high numerical optics may also enable the simultaneous observation of elec. and optical signals, which would help to elucidate the coupling between ligand-binding and channel events of ionotropic receptors. [on SciFinder (R)]