Europhys. Lett.
Volume 75, Number 4, August 2006
Page(s) 652 - 658
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 05 July 2006
Europhys. Lett., 75 (4), pp. 652-658 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10145-2

From supported membranes to tethered vesicles: Lipid bilayers destabilisation at the main transition

S. Lecuyer and T. Charitat

Institut Charles Sadron (UPR 22), CNRS-ULP - 6 rue Boussingault B.P. 40016 67083 Strasbourg Cedex, France

received 31 January 2006; accepted in final form 21 June 2006
published online 5 July 2006

We report results concerning the destabilisation of supported phospholipid bilayers in a well-defined geometry. When heating up supported phospholipid membranes deposited on highly hydrophilic glass slides from room temperature (i.e. with lipids in the gel phase), unbinding was observed around the main gel to fluid transition temperature of the lipids. It leads to the formation of relatively monodisperse vesicles, of which most remained tethered to the supported bilayer. We interpret these observations in terms of a sharp decrease of the bending rigidity modulus $\kappa$ in the transition region, combined with a weak initial adhesion energy. On the basis of scaling arguments, we show that our experimental findings are consistent with this hypothesis.

87.16.Dg - Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles.
87.15.Ya - Fluctuations.

© EDP Sciences 2006