Volume 77, Number 3, February 2007
Article Number 38006
Number of page(s) 5
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 01 February 2007
EPL, 77 (2007) 38006
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/77/38006

Periodic lipidic membrane tubes

F. Campelo1, J.-M. Allain2, 3 and M. Ben Amar2

1  Departament d'Estructura i Constituents de la Matèria, Facultat de Física, Universitat de Barcelona - Diagonal 647, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain
2  Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, École Normale Supérieure - 24 rue Lhomond, F-75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
3  Biomedical Engineering Department, Boston University - 44 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA

received 25 July 2006; accepted in final form 11 December 2006; published February 2007
published online 1 February 2007

We investigate the formation of two-phase lipidic tubes of membrane in the framework of the Canham-Helfrich model. The two phases have different elastic moduli (bending and Gaussian rigidity), different tensions and a line tension prevents the mixing. For a set of parameters close to experimental values, periodic patterns with arbitrary wavelength can be found numerically. A wavelength selection is detected via the existence of an energy minimum. When the chemical composition induces an important enough size disequilibrium between both phases, a segregation into two half infinite tubes is preferred to a periodic structure.

87.16.Dg - Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles.
87.10.+e - Biological and medical physics: general theory and mathematical aspects.
68.03.Cd - Surface tension and related phenomena.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007