VISUALIZING SOFT MATTER: MESOSCOPIC SIMULATIONS OF MEMBRANES, VESICLES AND NANOPARTICLES

  • SHILLCOCK J
  • LIPOWSKY R
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Abstract

Biological membranes have properties and behavior that emerge from the propagation of the molecular characteristics of their components across many scales. Artificial smart materials, such as drug delivery vehicles and nanoparticles, often rely on modifying naturally-occurring soft matter, such as polymers and lipid vesicles, so that they possess useful behavior. Mesoscopic simulations allow in silico experiments to be easily and cheaply performed on complex, soft materials requiring as input only the molecular structure of the constituents at a coarse-grained level. They can therefore act as a guide to experimenters prior to performing costly assays. Additionally, mesoscopic simulations provide the only currently feasible window on the length and time scales relevant to important biophysical processes such as vesicle fusion. We describe here recent work using Dissipative Particle Dynamics simulations to explore the structure and behavior of amphiphilic membranes, the fusion of vesicles, and the interactions between rigid nanoparticles and soft surfaces.

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Authors

  • JULIAN SHILLCOCK

  • REINHARD LIPOWSKY

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