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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2002 Apr;65(4 Pt 1):041901. Epub 2002 Mar 13.

Fluid-membrane tethers: minimal surfaces and elastic boundary layers.

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Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


Thin cylindrical tethers are common lipid bilayer membrane structures, arising in situations ranging from micromanipulation experiments on artificial vesicles to the dynamic structure of the Golgi apparatus. We study the shape and formation of a tether in terms of the classical soap-film problem, which is applied to the case of a membrane disk under tension subject to a point force. A tether forms from the elastic boundary layer near the point of application of the force, for sufficiently large displacement. Analytic results for various aspects of the membrane shape are given.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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