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Probing Elastic and Viscous Properties of Phospholipid Bilayers using Neutron Spin Echo Spectroscopy



Michihiro Nagao, Elizabeth G Kelley, Rana Ashkar, Robert David Bradbury, Paul Butler


The elastic and viscous properties of self-assembled amphiphilic membranes dictate the intricate hierarchy of their structure and dynamics ranging from the diffusion of individual molecules to the large scale deformation of the membrane. We have previously demonstrated that neutron spin echo spectroscopy on model amphiphilic membranes can access the naturally occurring sub-microsecond membrane motions, such as bending and thickness fluctuations. Here, we relate the experimentally observed thickness fluctuation parameters to the inherent membrane properties, namely the bilayer compressibility modulus and the membrane viscosity, for a series of simple phosphatidylcholine bilayers of different tail lengths in various phases. The present paper highlights the interdependence of the bilayer elastic and viscous properties and the collective membrane dynamics, and demonstrates how these properties are influenced by the lipid composition in simple model systems.
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters


lipid bilayer, membrane dynamics, mechanical properties, membrane viscosity, neutron spin echo


Nagao, M. , , E. , Ashkar, R. , , R. and Butler, P. (2017), Probing Elastic and Viscous Properties of Phospholipid Bilayers using Neutron Spin Echo Spectroscopy, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, [online], (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created September 11, 2017, Updated June 21, 2018