Archive ouverte HAL – Statistical mechanics of asymmetric tethered membranes: Spiral and crumpled phases

Tirthankar Banerjee 1 Niladri Sarkar 2 John Toner 2 Abhik Basu

Tirthankar Banerjee, Niladri Sarkar, John Toner, Abhik Basu. Statistical mechanics of asymmetric tethered membranes: Spiral and crumpled phases. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2019, 99 (5), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.99.053004⟩. ⟨hal-02291841⟩

We develop the elastic theory for inversion-asymmetric tethered membranes and use it to identify and study their possible phases. Asymmetry in a tethered membrane causes spontaneous curvature, which in general depends upon the local in-plane dilation of the tethered network. This in turn leads to long-ranged interactions between the local mean and Gaussian curvatures, which is not present in symmetric tethered membranes. This interplay between asymmetry and Gaussian curvature leads to a new {\em double-spiral} phase not found in symmetric tethered membranes. At temperature $T=0$, tethered membranes of arbitrarily large size are always rolled up tightly into a conjoined pair of Archimedes' spirals. At finite $T$ this spiral structure swells up significantly into algebraic spirals characterized by universal exponents which we calculate. These spirals have long range orientational order, and are the asymmetric analogs of statistically flat symmetric tethered membranes. We also find that sufficiently strong asymmetry can trigger a structural instability leading to crumpling of these membranes as well. This provides a new route to crumpling for asymmetric tethered membranes. We calculate the maximum linear extent $L_c$ beyond which the membrane crumples, and calculate the universal dependence of $L_c$ on the membrane parameters. By tuning the asymmetry parameter, $L_c$ can be continuously varied, implying a {\em scale-dependent} crumpling. Our theory can be tested on controlled experiments on lipids with artificial deposits of spectrin filaments, in-vitro experiments on %\sout{artificial deposition of spectrin filaments on} red blood cell membrane extracts, %\sout{after %depletion of adenosine-tri-phosphate molecules} and on graphene coated on one side.

  • 1. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques
  • 2. MPI-PKS - Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems