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Minimal Bending Energies of Bilayer Polyhedra

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.228101

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Abstract:

Motivated by recent experiments on bilayer polyhedra composed of amphiphilic molecules, we study the elastic bending energies of bilayer vesicles forming polyhedral shapes. Allowing for segregation of excess amphiphiles along the ridges of polyhedra, we find that bilayer polyhedra can indeed have lower bending energies than spherical bilayer vesicles. However, our analysis also implies that, contrary to what has been suggested on the basis of experiments, the snub dodecahedron, rather than the icosahedron, generally represents the energetically favorable shape of bilayer polyhedra.

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