Volume 70, Number 5, June 2005
|Page(s)||690 - 696|
|Section||Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology|
|Published online||04 May 2005|
Nonaxisymmetric phospholipid vesicles: Rackets, boomerangs, and starfish
Department of Physics, University of Ljubljana - Ljubljana, Slovenia
2 J. Stefan Institute - Ljubljana, Slovenia
3 Institute of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana Ljubljana, Slovenia
Accepted: 15 April 2005
Within the area difference elasticity model, we numerically minimize the bending energy of phospholipid vesicles to study the nonaxisymmetric shapes at the oblate-prolate transition. We analyze the onset of a coherent structural hierarchy of hybrid shapes such as rackets, boomerangs, and starfish, which all consist of a flattened body and one or more elongated arms. The phase diagram of these shapes is characterized by a critical point terminating the line of discontinuous transitions between rackets and boomerangs/starfish. The critical point is located very close to the discocyte with the volume of a human erythrocyte, implying that in this part of the parameter space minute variations of volume and area difference can induce large changes of shape.
PACS: 87.16.-b – Subcellular structure and processes / 87.16.Ac – Theory and modeling; computer simulation / 87.16.Dg – Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles
© EDP Sciences, 2005
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