The soft-mode instability of a membrane induced by strong polymer adsorptionWokyung Sung1, 2 and SeungKyun Lee1
1 Department of Physics, Pohang University of Science and Technology Pohang 790-784, S. Korea
2 Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics - Pohang 790-784, S. Korea
received 29 June 2004; accepted in final form 29 September 2004
published online 27 October 2004
The interaction between a flexible polymer and a fluctuating membrane is a fundamental problem in soft-matter physics with relevance to biological phenomena occurring in cells. We find that polymer fluctuations in a strongly adsorbed state can renormalize the bending rigidity of a planar membrane to a negative value. It gives rise to a novel phenomenon that the membrane with a small surface tension can be unstable to spontaneous formation of a soft mode, i.e., a large-amplitude undulation with the wavelength comparable to the interaction range which can be long.
87.16.Dg - Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles.
61.25.Hq - Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling.
© EDP Sciences 2004