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Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2017 Sep;40(9):77. doi: 10.1140/epje/i2017-11566-8. Epub 2017 Sep 19.

Elastic and dynamic properties of membrane phase-field models.

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Martin Fisher School of Physics, Brandeis University, 02454, Waltham, MA, USA.
Departament de Fisica de la Matèria Condensada, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, E08028, Barcelona, Spain.
Universitat de Barcelona Institute of Complex Systems (UBICS), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
CECAM, Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lasuanne, Batochime, Avenue Forel 2, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (IN2UB), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Phase-field models have been extensively used to study interfacial phenomena, from solidification to vesicle dynamics. In this article, we analyze a phase-field model that captures the relevant physical features that characterize biological membranes. We show that the Helfrich theory of elasticity of membranes can be applied to phase-field models, allowing to derive the expressions of the stress tensor, lateral stress profile and elastic moduli. We discuss the relevance and interpretations of these magnitudes from a phase-field perspective. Taking the sharp-interface limit we show that the membrane macroscopic equilibrium equation can be derived from the equilibrium condition of the phase-field interface. We also study two dynamic models that describe the behaviour of a membrane. From the study of the relaxational behaviour of the membrane we characterize the relevant dynamics of each model, and discuss their applications.


Soft Matter: Self-organisation and Supramolecular Assemblies

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