By: Halim Kusumaatmaja
From: University of Cambridge
At: Instituto de Investigação Interdisciplinar, Anfiteatro
Recently, novel soft matter systems consisting of lipid vesicles and phase separating polymer solutions have been introduced. After describing the experimental system, I shall present our theoretical analysis which reveals the existence of an intrinsic contact angle between the membranes and the aqueous phases, reminiscent to Young's angle in standard wetting phenomena. An explicit relation is derived by which the intrinsic angle can be determined from experimental observables. Comparison between theory and experiment provides strong evidence that the intrinsic contact angle represents a material parameter. The theory is then used to describe the budding transition, where one of the aqueous phases protrudes from the vesicle body to minimize the interfacial energy between the aqueous phases. Finally, if time permits, I shall describe the formation of membrane nanotubes in these systems, and how our theory can be extended to explain this observation.