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We present a method for integrating an isolated cell membrane patch into a semiconductor device. The semiconductor is nanostructured for probing native cell membranes for scanning probe microscopy in situ. Apertures were etched into suspended silicon-nitride layers on a silicon substrate using standard optical lithography as well as electron-beam lithography in combination with reactive ion etching. Apertures of 1 μm diam were routinely fabricated and a reduction in size down to 50 nm was achieved. The stable integration of cell membranes was verified by confocal fluorescence microscopy in situ. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.