Supervisors: Thierry Charitat et Jean Daillant
We have determined by grazing incidence X-ray scattering the interaction potential between two lipid bilayers, one adsorbed on a solid surface and the other floating close by. We find that interactions in this highly hydrated system are two orders of magnitude softer than in previously reported work on multilayer stacks. This is attributed to the weak electrostatic repulsion due to the small fraction of ionized lipids in defectless supported bilayers. We also access the entropic repulsion potentials, allowing us to discriminate between the different existing models. The effects of an electric field on the properties of membranes have also been studied. We show that the field induces a negative tension and an increase of the rigidity. We also show that it is possible to destabilize a supported bilayer by an electric field under certain conditions. Finally, we measure the properties of charged membranes using X-ray scattering, giving access to the limits of the Poisson-Boltzmann theory.
Keywords: Membranes ; Thermal fluctuations; Statistical physics ; Biophysics ; Electrostatics