Two-component fluid membranes near repulsive walls: Linearized hydrodynamics of equilibrium and nonequilibrium states

Sumithra Sankararaman, Gautam I. Menon, P. B. Sunil Kumar

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Abstract

We study the linearized hydrodynamics of a two-component fluid membrane near a repulsive wall, using a model that incorporates curvature-concentration coupling as well as hydrodynamic interactions. This model is a simplified version of a recently proposed one [J.-B. Manneville et al., Phys. Rev. E 64, 021908 (2001)] for nonequilibrium force centers embedded in fluid membranes, such as light-activated bacteriorhodopsin pumps incorporated in phospholipid egg phosphatidyl choline (EPC) bilayers. The pump-membrane system is modeled as an impermeable, two-component bilayer fluid membrane in the presence of an ambient solvent, in which one component, representing active pumps, is described in terms of force dipoles displaced with respect to the bilayer midpoint. We first discuss the case in which such pumps are rendered inactive, computing the mode structure in the bulk as well as the modification of hydrodynamic properties by the presence of a nearby wall. These results should apply, more generally, to equilibrium fluid membranes comprised of two components, in which the effects of curvature-concentration coupling are significant, above the threshold for phase separation. We then discuss the fluctuations and mode structure in the steady state of active two-component membranes near a repulsive wall. We find that proximity to the wall smoothens membrane height fluctuations in the stable regime, resulting in a logarithmic scaling of the roughness even for initially tensionless membranes. This explicitly nonequilibrium result is a consequence of the incorporation of curvature-concentration coupling in our hydrodynamic treatment. This result also indicates that earlier scaling arguments which obtained an increase in the roughness of active membranes near repulsive walls upon neglecting the role played by such couplings may need to be reevaluated.

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