Lipid Membranes: From Self-assembly to Elasticity
In aqueous solution, lipid molecules spontaneously assemble into macroscopic bilayer membranes, which have highly interesting mechanical properties. In this chapter, we first discuss some basic aspects of this self-assembly process. In the second part, we then revisit and slightly expand a well-known continuum-level theory that describes the elastic properties pertaining to membrane geometry and lipid tilt. We then illustrate in part three several conceptually different strategies for how one of the emerging elastic parameters—the bending modulus—can be obtained in computer simulations.
KeywordsArea Element Spherical Micelle Spontaneous Curvature Cylindrical Micelle Surface Energy Density
Many people have contributed in numerous ways to the results presented in this chapter. We would especially like to acknowledge Luca Deseri, Patrick Diggins IV, Jemal Guven, Mingyang Hu, Zach McDargh, and Pablo Vázquez-Montejo. MD would also like to thank David Steigmann for putting together this exciting summer school. Financial support from the National Science Foundation via the grants CMMI-0941690 and CHE-1464926 is also gratefully acknowledged.
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