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Transient ordered domains in single-component phospholipid bilayers

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)pp. 238102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23, 238102
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


We report evidence of dense, ordered nanodomains in single-component fluid lipid bilayers. Our atomic-scale molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the area available to a lipid acyl chain exhibits large fluctuations, resulting in denser and sparser domains. The sizes of the dense domains can be up to ∼10  nm, and their lifetimes are of the order of ∼10  ns. In addition, our simulations suggest that domains of lipids with highly ordered acyl chains form predominantly within the dense regions, their sizes ranging from a few chains up to a few nanometers, and with lifetimes between ∼10  ps–10  ns. These observations shed light on the origin of experimentally observed fluctuations, as well as on the mechanisms of phase transitions in lipid membranes.

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