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We present the phenomenology of transformations in lipid bilayers that are excited using laser tweezers. A variety of dynamic instabilities and shape transformations are observed, including the pearling instability, expulsion of vesicles and more exotic ones such as the formation of passages. Our physical picture of the laser–membrane interaction is based on the generation of tension in the bilayer and loss of surface area. While tension is the origin of the pearling instability, it does not suﬃce to explain expulsion of vesicles, where we observe the opening of giant pores and creeping motion of bilayers. We present a quantitative theoretical framework to understand most of the observed phenomenology. The main hypothesis that lipid gets pulled into the optical trap by the familiar dielectric eﬀect, is disrupted, and ﬁnally gets repackaged into an optically unresolvable suspension of colloidal particles. This suspension can in turn produce osmotic pressure and depletion forces, driving the observed transformations.
Laser tweezers, Bilayer vesicles, Pore formation, Entropic forces, Colloidal forces, Hydro-dynamic instability
Ziv, R. B., Moses, E., & Nelson, P. C. (1998). Dynamic Excitations in Membranes Induced by Optical Tweezers. Biophysics Journal, 75 (1), 294-320. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(98)77515-0
Date Posted: 01 May 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.