Line tension of multicomponent bilayer membranes
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The line tension or edge energy of bilayer membranes self-assembled from binary amphiphilic molecules is studied using self-consistent-field theory (SCFT). Specifically, solutions of the SCFT equations corresponding to an infinite membrane with a circular pore, or an open membrane, are obtained for a coarse-grained model in which the amphiphilic species and hydrophilic solvents are represented by ABandED diblock copolymers and C homopolymers, respectively. The edge energy of the membrane is extracted from the free energy of the open membranes. Results for membranes composed of mixtures of symmetric and cone- or inverse cone-shaped amphiphilic molecules with neutral and/or repulsive interactions are obtained and analyzed. It is observed that an increase in the concentration of the cone-shaped species leads to a decrease of the line tension. In contrast, adding inverse cone-shaped copolymers results in an increase of the line tension. Furthermore, the density profile of the copolymers reveals that the line tension is regulated by the distribution of the amphiphiles at the bilayer edge.
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