Confined multilamellae prefer cylindrical morphology
A theory of myelin formation
James Franck Institute and Department of Physics, University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60637, USA
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Published online: 18 October 2005
By evaporating a drop of lipid dispersion we generate the myelin morphology often seen in dissolving surfactant powders. We explain these puzzling nonequilibrium structures using a geometric argument: the bilayer repeat spacing increases and thus the repulsion between bilayers decreases when a multilamellar disk is converted into a myelin without gain or loss of material and with number of bilayers unchanged. Sufficient reduction in bilayer repulsion can compensate for the cost in curvature energy, leading to a net stability of the myelin structure. A numerical estimate predicts the degree of dehydration required to favor myelin structures over flat lamellae.
© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag, 2005