Bending rigidity of charged lipid bilayer membranes

Hammad A. Faizi, Shelli L. Frey, Jan Steinkühler, Rumiana Dimova*, Petia M. Vlahovska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We experimentally investigate the effect of lipid charge on the stiffness of bilayer membranes. The bending rigidity of membranes with composition 0-100 mol% of charged lipids, in the absence and presence of salt at different concentrations, is measured with the flicker spectroscopy method, using the shape fluctuations of giant unilamellar vesicles. The analysis considers both the mean squared amplitudes and the time autocorrelations of the shape modes. Our results show that membrane charge increases the bending rigidity relative to the charge-free membrane. The effect is diminished by the addition of monovalent salt to the suspending solutions. The trend shown by the membrane bending rigidity correlates with zeta potential measurements, confirming charge screening at different salt concentrations. The experimental results in the presence of salt are in good agreement with existing theories of membrane stiffening by surface charge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6006-6013
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number29
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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