Shapes of hydrophobic thick membranes
Department of Physics, University of Maryland - College Park, MD 20742, USA
2 Institute of Physics, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology - 10 Dao Tan, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam
3 Dipartimento di Fisica “G. Galilei”, Università di Padova & CNISM, unità di Padova & INFN, sezione di Padova Via Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova, Italy, EU
Accepted: 24 May 2012
We introduce and study the behavior of a tethered membrane of non-zero thickness embedded in three dimensions subject to an effective self-attraction induced by hydrophobicity arising from the tendency to minimize the area exposed to a solvent. The phase behavior and the nature of the folded conformations are found to be quite distinct in the small and large solvent size regimes. We demonstrate spontaneous symmetry breaking with the membrane folding along a preferential axis, when the solvent molecules are small compared to the membrane thickness. For large solvent molecule size, a local crinkling mechanism effectively shields the membrane from the solvent, even in relatively flat conformations. We discuss the binding/unbinding transition of a membrane to a wall that serves to shield the membrane from the solvent.
PACS: 64.60.De – Statistical mechanics of model systems (Ising model, Potts model, field-theory models, Monte Carlo techniques, etc.) / 87.16.af – Monte Carlo calculations / 87.16.D- – Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles
© EPLA, 2012