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We demonstrate how manipulating curvature in an elastic fluid lamella enables the reversible relative positioning of flat, rigid, plate-like micrometer-scale inclusions, with spacings from about a micrometer to tens of micrometers. In an experimental model comprising giant unilamellar vesicles containing solid domain pairs coexisting in a fluid membrane, we adjusted vesicle inflation to manipulate membrane curvature and mapped the inter-domain separation. A two-dimensional model of the pair potential predicts the salient experimental observations and reveals both attractions and repulsions, producing a potential minimum entirely a result of the solid domain rigidity and bending energy in the fluid membrane. The impact of vesicle inflation on domain separation in vesicles containing two solid domains was qualitatively consistent with observations in vesicles containing many domains. The behavior differs qualitatively from the pure repulsions between fluid membrane domains or interactions between nanoscopic inclusions whose repulsive or attractive character is not switchable.
Santore, Maria/0000-0003-3689-5064; Wu, Hao/0000-0003-1458-6930; Xin, Weiyue/0000-0003-1704-1549
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DOEUnited States Department of Energy (DOE) [DE-SC0017870]; NIHUnited States Department of Health & Human ServicesNational Institutes of Health (NIH) - USA [GM008515]
Wu, Hao; Xin, Weiyue; Grason, Gregory M.; and Santore, Maria M., "Switchable Positioning of Plate-Like Inclusions in Lipid Membranes: Elastically Mediated Interactions of Planar Colloids in 2D Fluids" (2021). SCIENCE ADVANCES. 1164.