Facilitated diffusion is a type of passive transport that allows substances to cross membranes with the assistance of special transport proteins. Some molecules and ions such as glucose, sodium ions and chloride ions are unable to pass through the lipid bilayer of cell membranes.
Through the use of ion channel proteins and carrier proteins that are embedded in the cell membrane these substance can be transported into the cell. Ion channel proteins allow specific ions to pass through the protein channel. The ion channels are regulated by the cell and are either open or closed to control the passage of substances into the cell. Carrier proteins bind to specific molecules, change shape and then deposit the molecules across the membrane. Once the transaction is complete the proteins return to their original position.