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Author(s):Kumar, Vinit
Subject(s):Mechanical Engineering and Sciences
Abstract:Presented is a sequence of spontaneous shape transformations for a giant unilaminar vesicle. It is nearly 5 microns across, about the size of a red blood cell. In asymmetric aqueous environments, where the concentrations or types of ions and molecules are different inside and out, the lipid membrane develops a spontaneous curvature. This is due to its interactions with particles on both sides of the membrane. Spontaneous curvature, the preferred curvature of the membrane, renders only a particular shape to be stable which minimizes the total energy of the vesicle. Thermal fluctuations in the membrane drive these changes and can be seen in this sequence of images. The final discoid shape in the sequence represents an energy minimum, mirroring the shape of a healthy red blood cell. This disc shape is crucial for maximizing oxygen transport throughout the body. Understanding shape energetics can shed light on the fundamental processes that underlie shape deformations that occur in some blood disorders.
Issue Date:2020
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Vinit Kumar
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-04-14

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