Schiller, P.: Indirect Interaction of Colloidal Particles Adsorbed on Smectic Films. Phys. Rev. E, submitted


Colloidal particles like peptides and proteins adsorbed to a stack of lipid bilayers cause elastic deformations which disturb the smectic order. Two adsorbed particles attract each other due to the superposition of their deformation fields. The effective pair potential attributed to this substrate-mediated force decays exponentially with the particle distance. The range of this potential coincides with the decay length of elastic deformations and is found to be proportional to the square root of the stack thickness. If the stack is sufficiently thick the substrate-mediated interaction is estimated to be strong enough to overcome the entropic barrier and enforce aggregation or even crystallization of the adsorbate.