The formation and dynamics of spatially extended compositional domains in multicomponent lipid membranes lie at the heart of many important biological and biophysical phenomena. While the thermodynamic basis for domain formation has been explored extensively in the past, domain growth in the presence of hydrodynamic interactions both within the (effectively) two-dimensional membrane and in the three-dimensional solvent in which the membrane is immersed has received little attention. In this work, we explore the role of hydrodynamic effects on spinodal decomposition kinetics via continuum simulations of a convective Cahn-Hilliard equation for membrane composition coupled to the Stokes equation. Our approach explicitly includes hydrodynamics both within the planar membrane and in the three-dimensional solvent in the viscously dominated flow regime. Numerical simulations reveal that dynamical scaling breaks down for critical lipid mixtures due to distinct coarsening mechanisms for elongated versus more isotropic compositional lipid domains. The breakdown in scaling should be readily observable in experiments on model membrane systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry