Elastic properties and line tension of self-assembled bilayer membranes
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The elastic properties of a self-assembled bilayer membrane are studied using the self-consistent field theory, applied to a model system composed of flexible amphiphilic chains dissolved in hydrophilic polymeric solvents. Examining the free energy of bilayer membranes with different geometries allows us to calculate their bending modulus, Gaussian modulus, two fourth-order membrane moduli, and the line tension. The dependence of these parameters on the microscopic characteristics of the amphiphilic chain, characterized by the volume fraction of the hydrophilic component, is systematically studied. The theoretical predictions are compared with the results from a simple monolayer model, which approximates a bilayer membrane by two monolayers. The region of validity of the linear elasticity theory is analyzed by examining the higher-order contributions.
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