Spontaneous and Induced Adhesion of Fluid Membranes

  • Wolfgang Helfrich
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 211)


Soft membranes have recently been shown to possess many novel properties due to their out-of-plane fluctuations. In particular, spontaneous adhesion including a temperature-driven unbinding transition and adhesion induced by lateral tension have been observed with electrically neutral biological model membranes. We review existing theories of adhesion in terms of direct forces and undulation forces. An outline of the experimental results is also given. Some contradictions between theory and experiment suggest an unknown submicroscopic roughness of these membranes. It should far exceed the contribution of undulations, i.e. of the out-of-plane fluctuations controlled by bending rigidity and lateral tension.


Contact Angle Fluid Membrane Adhesion Energy Hamaker Constant Lateral Tension 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Helfrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich PhysikFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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