Theory for the bending anisotropy of lipid membranes and tubule formation

C. M. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We study the spontaneous symmetry breaking of the bending rigidity of lipid membranes in two principal directions by a Landau mean-field theory. When the temperature is below the tilting temperature [Formula Presented], the coupling between molecular orientation and membrane local curvature square leads to an increase of the bending rigidity in the tilting direction and therefore a spontaneous symmetry breaking in two principal directions. The asymmetry [Formula Presented] of the bending rigidity undergoes a continuous change upon cooling and grows as [Formula Presented] for [Formula Presented] We discuss this anisotropical effect on the tilt structure of the ripple phase [Formula Presented] of a nearly flat membrane and the sphere-to-tubule transition in a dilute solution of lipids. The transition between the spherical vesicle phase and the tubular phase is predicted to be first order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6192-6195
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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