Lipid bilayer membranes are lyotropic liquid crystals, and an electrical potential difference is created across the membrane when it bends. However, this phenomenon, known as the flexo-electric effect, that describes the relationship between membrane curvature and electric field, has not been investigated in sufficient detail experimentally or theoretically. We will combine theory, computer simulations and experiments in collaborators’ labs to measure the impact of electric field on the curvature of lipid membranes and vice versa. Cellular membranes operate under a resting electrical potential, and key cellular processes depend on the interplay between curvature and potential. The implications of “flexoelectricity” are likely to be of considerable consequence in both model lipid bilayer systems, and in biology.
|Effektiv start/slut dato||01/09/2016 → 31/03/2019|