Curvature correction to the mobility of fluid membrane inclusions

  • D. R. Daniels
Open Access
Regular Article


Using rigorous low-Reynolds-number hydrodynamic theory on curved surfaces, we provide, via a Stokeslet-type approach, a general and concise expression for the leading-order curvature correction to the canonical, planar, Saffman-Delbrück value of the diffusion constant for a small inclusion embedded in an arbitrarily (albeit weakly) curved fluid membrane. In order to demonstrate the efficacy and utility of this general result, we apply our theory to the specific case of calculating the diffusion coefficient of a locally curvature inducing membrane inclusion. By including both the effects of inclusion and membrane elasticity, as well as their respective thermal shape fluctuations, excellent agreement is found with recently published experimental data on the surface tension dependent mobility of membrane bound inclusions.

Graphical abstract


Living systems: Biological Matter 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EngineeringSwansea University, Bay CampusSwanseaUK

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