Unbinding of Membranes
Ordered lamellar phases are formed in many-component systems containing amphiphilic molecules. In these phases, roughly parallel lamellae or membranes are separated by a fluid medium. Examples are (i) phospholipid bilayers separated by water, and (ii) swollen bilayers separated by oil (or water). In the latter case, the membranes consist of thin layers of water (or oil) sandwiched between two monolayers of surfactant. Recent swelling and dilution experiments have shown /1–4/ that the membrane spacing can become large compared to the membrane thickness. During such swelling or dilution experiments, the membranes undergo an unbinding process from a state where they are bound together to a state where they are completely separated.
KeywordsSurfactant Anisotropy Hydration Manifold Hydrocarbon
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