Europhys. Lett.
Volume 74, Number 5, June 2006
Page(s) 916 - 922
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 03 May 2006
Europhys. Lett., 74 (5), pp. 916-922 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10585-0

Osmotically induced passage of vesicles through narrow pores

G. T. Linke, R. Lipowsky and T. Gruhn

Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces - Science Park Golm D-14424 Potsdam, Germany

received 16 August 2005; accepted in final form 4 April 2006
published online 3 May 2006

The osmotically induced passage of fluid vesicles through narrow pores is studied theoretically using Monte Carlo simulations and a recently introduced sampling scheme. The free energy barrier for this transport process is calculated explicitly. An essential part of the free energy barrier is based on thermal fluctuations of the membrane shape. Simulation results indicate that, in real systems, the passage can be driven by osmotic pressure alone. The dynamics of the passage process are dominated by the geometry-induced changes of the vesicle volume and the associated water permeation through the vesicle membrane. The passage time is estimated to be of the order of minutes.

87.16.Dg - Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles.
68.15.+e - Liquid thin films.
87.16.Ac - Theory and modeling; computer simulation.

© EDP Sciences 2006