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Advances in Condensed Matter Physics
Volume 2014, Article ID 373674, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/373674
Research Article

Numerical Study of Membrane Configurations

1Laboratory of Biophysics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Tržaška 25, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Laboratory of Clinical Biophysics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Zdravstvena 5, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Koroška Cesta 160, SI-2000 Maribor, Slovenia
4Jožef Stefan Institute, P.O. Box 3000, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
5Institute of Physical Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kasprzaka 44/52, 01-224 Warsaw, Poland

Received 3 August 2014; Accepted 6 October 2014; Published 30 November 2014

Academic Editor: George Cordoyiannis

Copyright © 2014 Luka Mesarec et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We studied biological membranes of spherical topology within the framework of the spontaneous curvature model. Both Monte Carlo simulations and the numerical minimization of the curvature energy were used to obtain the shapes of the vesicles. The shapes of the vesicles and their energy were calculated for different values of the reduced volume. The vesicles which exhibit in-plane ordering were also studied. Minimal models have been developed in order to study the orientational ordering in colloids coated with a thin sheet of nematic liquid crystal (nematic shells). The topological defects are always present on the surfaces with the topology of a sphere. The location of the topological defects depends strongly on the curvature of the surface. We studied the nematic ordering and the formation of topological defects on vesicles obtained by the minimization of the spontaneous curvature energy.