³¹P NMR and infrared spectroscopic methods have been used to study the formation of small unilamellar vesicles by the pH-jump method. It is shown that increasing the pH of different lamellar phospholipid dispersions (phosphatidic acids and phosphatidylserines) induces a pH gradient. This pH gradient is estimated to be 4 ± 1 pH units, and its direction is such that the inner monolayer of the vesicles is at lower pH. There is spectroscopic evidence for tighter packing of the lipid hydrocarbon chains in the inner monolayer, probably due to the constraints imposed by the high curavture of the small vesicles formed. There results are discussed in terms of the driving force of the spontaneous vesiculation.