Curvature-driven effective attraction in multicomponent membranes

Matthew F. Demers, Rastko Sknepnek, Monica Olvera de la Cruz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    We study closed liquid membranes that segregate into three phases due to differences in the chemical and physical properties of its components. The shape and in-plane membrane arrangement of the phases are coupled through phase-specific bending energies and line tensions. We use simulated annealing Monte Carlo simulations to find low-energy structures, allowing both phase arrangement and membrane shape to relax. The three-phase system is the simplest one in which there are multiple interface pairs, allowing us to analyze interfacial preferences and pairwise distinct line tensions. We observe the system's preference for interface pairs that maximize differences in spontaneous curvature. From a pattern selection perspective, this acts as an effective attraction between phases of most disparate spontaneous curvature. We show that this effective attraction is robust enough to persist even when the interface between these phases is the most penalized by line tension. This effect is driven by geometry and not by any explicit component-component interaction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberARTN 021504
    Number of pages6
    JournalPhysical Review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2012


    • phase-behavior
    • planar random surfaces
    • model
    • line tension
    • separation
    • cholesterol
    • vesicles
    • dynamics
    • domains
    • mechanism


    Dive into the research topics of 'Curvature-driven effective attraction in multicomponent membranes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this