Analytical expressions for the shape of axisymmetric membranes with multiple domains

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Regular Article


Based on the Canham-Helfrich free energy, we derive analytical expressions for the shapes of axisymmetric membranes consisting of multiple domains. We give explicit equations for both closed vesicles and almost cylindrical tubes. Using these expressions, we also find the shape of a tube attached to a spherical vesicle. The resulting shapes compare well to numerical data, and our expressions can be used to easily determine membrane parameters from experimentally obtained shapes.

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© The Author(s) 2011

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied Physics and Institute for Complex Molecular SystemsEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

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