2,259 research outputs found

    Role of cross-links in bundle formation, phase separation and gelation of long filaments

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    We predict the thermodynamic and structural behavior of solutions of long cross-linked filaments. We find that at the mean field level, the entropy of self-assembled junctions induces an effective attraction between the filaments that can result in a phase separation into a connected network, in equilibrium with a dilute phase. A connected network can also be formed in a non-thermodynamic transition upon increase of the chain, or cross link density, or with decreasing temperature. For rigid rods, at low temperatures, we predict a transition from an isotropic network, to anisotropic bundles of rods tightly bound by cross links, that is triggered by the interplay between the configurational entropy of the cross-link distribution among the rods, and the rotational and translational entropy of the rods.Comment: typos and graphics corrected; 6 pages 1 figur

    Inclusions induced phase separation in mixed lipid film

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    The effect of rigid inclusions on the phase behavior of a film containing a mixture of lipid molecules is investigated. In the proposed model, the inclusion-induced deformation of the film, and the resulting energy cost are strongly dependent upon the spontaneous curvature of the mixed film. The spontaneous curvature is in turn strongly influenced by the composition of film. This coupling between the film composition and the energy per inclusion leads to a lateral modulation of the composition, which follows the local curvature of the membrane. In particular, it is shown that the inclusion may induce a global phase separation in a film which would otherwise be homogeneously mixed. The mixed film is then composed of patches of different average composition, separated by the inclusions. This process may be of relevance to explain some aspects of lipid-protein association in biological membranes.Comment: 19 pages, 5 figure

    Phase behavior and material properties of hollow nanoparticles

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    Effective pair potentials for hollow nanoparticles like the ones made from carbon (fullerenes) or metal dichalcogenides (inorganic fullerenes) consist of a hard core repulsion and a deep, but short-ranged, van der Waals attraction. We investigate them for single- and multi-walled nanoparticles and show that in both cases, in the limit of large radii the interaction range scales inversely with the radius, RR, while the well depth scales linearly with RR. We predict the values of the radius RR and the wall thickness hh at which the gas-liquid coexistence disappears from the phase diagram. We also discuss unusual material properties of the solid, which include a large heat of sublimation and a small surface energy.Comment: Revtex, 13 pages with 8 Postscript files included, submitted to Phys. Rev.

    Elastic Interactions of Cells

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    Biological cells in soft materials can be modeled as anisotropic force contraction dipoles. The corresponding elastic interaction potentials are long-ranged (1/r3\sim 1/r^3 with distance rr) and depend sensitively on elastic constants, geometry and cellular orientations. On elastic substrates, the elastic interaction is similar to that of electric quadrupoles in two dimensions and for dense systems leads to aggregation with herringbone order on a cellular scale. Free and clamped surfaces of samples of finite size introduce attractive and repulsive corrections, respectively, which vary on the macroscopic scale. Our theory predicts cell reorientation on stretched elastic substrates.Comment: Revtex, 6 pages, 2 Postscript files included, to appear in Phys. Rev. Let

    Deformation and tribology of multi-walled hollow nanoparticles

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    Multi-walled hollow nanoparticles made from tungsten disulphide (WS2_2) show exceptional tribological performance as additives to liquid lubricants due to effective transfer of low shear strength material onto the sliding surfaces. Using a scaling approach based on continuum elasticity theory for shells and pairwise summation of van der Waals interactions, we show that van der Waals interactions cause strong adhesion to the substrate which favors release of delaminated layers onto the surfaces. For large and thin nanoparticles, van der Waals adhesion can cause considerable deformation and subsequent delamination. For the thick WS2_2 nanoparticles, deformation due to van der Waals interactions remains small and the main mechanism for delamination is pressure which in fact leads to collapse beyond a critical value. We also discuss the effect of shear flow on deformation and rolling on the substrate.Comment: Latex, 13 pages with 3 Postscript figures included, to appear in Europhysics Letter

    Molecular dynamics study of nanoparticle stability at liquid interfaces : effect of nanoparticle-solvent interaction and capillary waves

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    While the interaction of colloidal particles (sizes in excess of 100 nm) with liquid interfaces may be understood in terms of continuum models, which are grounded in macroscopic properties such as surface and line tensions, the behaviour of nanoparticles at liquid interfaces may be more complex. Recent simulations [D. L. Cheung and S. A. F. Bon, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 066103 (2009)] of nanoparticles at an idealised liquid-liquid interface showed that the nanoparticle-interface interaction range was larger than expected due, in part, to the action of thermal capillary waves. In this paper, molecular dynamics simulations of a Lennard-Jones nanoparticle in a binary Lennard-Jones mixture are used to confirm that these previous results hold for more realistic models. Furthermore by including attractive interactions between the nanoparticle and the solvent, it is found that the detachment energy decreases as the nanoparticle-solvent attraction increases. Comparison between the simulation results and recent theoretical predictions [H. Lehle and M. Oettel, J. Phys. Condens. Matter 20, 404224 (2008)] shows that for small particles the incorporation of capillary waves into the predicted effective nanoparticle-interface interaction improves agreement between simulation and theory

    Long-Range Interaction between Heterogeneously Charged Membranes

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    Despite their neutrality, surfaces or membranes with equal amounts of positive and negative charge can exhibit long-range electrostatic interactions if the surface charge is heterogeneous; this can happen when the surface charges form finite-size domain structures. These domains can be formed in lipid membranes where the balance of the different ranges of strong but short-ranged hydrophobic interactions and longer-ranged electrostatic repulsion result in a finite, stable domain size. If the domain size is large enough, oppositely charged domains in two opposing surfaces or membranes can be strongly correlated by the elecrostatic interactions; these correlations give rise to an attractive interaction of the two membranes or surfaces over separations on the order of the domain size. We use numerical simulations to demonstrate the existence of strong attractions at separations of tens of nanometers. Large line tensions result in larger domains but also increase the charge density within the domain. This promotes correlations and, as a result, increases the intermembrane attraction. On the other hand, increasing the salt concentration increases both the domain size and degree of domain anticorrelation, but the interactions are ultimately reduced due to increased screening. The result is a decrease in the net attraction as salt concentration is increased
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