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Biophys J. 1972 Apr;12(4):432-45.

Analysis of the torus surrounding planar lipid bilayer membranes.


The characteristics and behavior of the torus (annulus) surrounding planar lipid bilayer membranes formed across a cylindrical aperture are analyzed using equations for the shape and volume of the annulus derived by the methods of variational calculus. The analysis leads to the following results: (a) Design criteria for the aperture can be established. (b) The transition region between thin film and thick annulus can be defined quantitatively and its effect on the measurement of specific capacitance determined. (c) At fixed annulus volume the diameter of the thin membrane is a function of the thin film-annulus contact angle. This suggests a new method for examining changes in free energy of the thin film, and explains why the area of thin film increases reversibly when potentials are present across the film. (d) In the absence of buoyant forces, the equations for the shape and volume of the annulus consist of incomplete elliptic integrals of the first and second kinds; however, the shape of the annulus in the transition region can be described with good accuracy by an approximate equation of greater simplicity.

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