Dynamics of fluid bilayer vesicles: Soft meshes and robust curvature energy discretization

A Farnudi and MR Ejtehadi and R Everaers, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 108, 015301 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.108.015301

Continuum models like the Helfrich Hamiltonian are widely used to describe fluid bilayer vesicles. Here we study the molecular dynamics compatible dynamics of the vertices of two-dimensional meshes representing the bilayer, whose in-plane motion is only weakly constrained. We show (i) that Julicher's discretization of the curvature energy offers vastly superior robustness for soft meshes compared to the commonly employed expression by Gommper and Kroll and (ii) that for sufficiently soft meshes, the typical behavior of fluid bilayer vesicles can emerge even if the mesh connectivity remains fixed throughout the simulations. In particular, soft meshes can accommodate large shape transformations, and the model can generate the typical & POUND;-4 signal for the amplitude of surface undulation modes of nearly spherical vesicles all the way up to the longest wavelength modes. Furthermore, we compare results for Newtonian, Langevin, and Brownian dynamics simulations of the mesh vertices to demonstrate that the internal friction of the membrane model is negligible, making it suitable for studying the internal dynamics of vesicles via coupling to hydrodynamic solvers or particle-based solvent models.

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