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Phys Rev E. 2018 Feb;97(2-1):022414. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.97.022414.

Curvature instability of membranes near rigid inclusions.

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Simons Centre for the Study of Living Machines, National Centre for Biological Sciences (TIFR), Bellary Road, Bangalore 560065, India.


In multicomponent membranes, internal scalar fields may couple to membrane curvature, thus renormalizing the membrane elastic constants and destabilizing the flat membranes. Here, a general elasticity theory of membranes is considered that employs a quartic curvature expansion. The shape of the membrane and its deformation energy near a long rod-like inclusion are studied analytically. In the limit where one can neglect the end effects, the nonlinear response of the membrane to such inclusions is found in exact form. Notably, exact shape solutions are found when the membrane is curvature unstable, manifested by a negative rigidity. Near the instability point (i.e., at vanishing rigidity), the membrane is stabilized by the quartic term, giving rise to a different length scale and scale exponents for the shape and its energy profile than those found for stable membranes. The contact angle induced by an applied force at the inclusion provides a method to experimentally determine the quartic curvature modulus.


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