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Fluctuation induced interaction between domains in membranes

David S. Dean, Manoel Manghi

par Manoel Manghi - 11 avril 2006

We study a model lipid bilayer composed of a mixture of two incompatible lipid types which have a natural tendency to segregate in the absence of membrane fluctuations. The membrane is mechanically characterized by a local bending rigidity $\kappa(\phi)$ which varies with the average local lipid composition $\phi$. We show, in the case where $\kappa$ varies weakly with $\phi$, that the effective interaction between lipids of the same type can either be everywhere attractive or can have a repulsive component at intermediate distances greater than the typical lipid size. When this interaction has a repulsive component, it can prevent macro-phase separation and lead to separation in mesophases with a finite domain size. This effect could be relevant to certain experimental and numerical observations of mesoscopic domains in such systems.