Global symmetry-breaking bifurcation in a model for 2-phase lipid-bilayer vesicles - analysis and computation

22 May 2017
Tim Healey

We study a model for lipid-bilayer membrane vesicles exhibiting phase separation, incorporating a phase field together with membrane fluidity and bending elasticity. We prove the existence of a plethora of equilibria in the large, corresponding to symmetry-breaking solutions of the Euler-Lagrange equations. We also numerically compute a special class of such solutions, namely those possessing icosahedral symmetry. We overcome several difficulties along the way. Due to inherent surface fluidity combined with finite curvature elasticity, neither the Eulerian (spatial) nor the Lagrangian (material) description of the model lends itself well to analysis. This is resolved via a singularity-free radial-map description, which effectively eliminates the grossly under-determined mid-plane deformation. We then use well known group-theoretic selection techniques combined with global bifurcation methods to obtain our results.

  • Partial Differential Equations Seminar