Pore formation in fluctuating membranes Academic Article uri icon


  • We study the nucleation of a single pore in a fluctuating lipid membrane, specifically taking into account the membrane fluctuations, as well as the shape fluctuations of the pore. For large enough pores, the nucleation free energy is well-described by shifts in the effective membrane surface tension and the pore line tension. Using our framework, we derive the stability criteria for the various pore formation regimes. In addition to the well-known large-tension regime from the classical nucleation theory of pores, we also find a low-tension regime in which the effective line and surface tensions can change sign from their bare values. The latter scenario takes place at sufficiently high temperatures, where the opening of a stable pore of finite size is entropically favorable.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005