Fusion of Nonionic Vesicles
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We present an experimental study of vesicle fusion using light and neutron scattering to monitor fusion events. Vesicles are reproducibly formed with an extrusion procedure using an single amphiphile triethylene glycol mono-n-decyl ether in water. They show long-term stability for temperatures around 20 C, but at temperatures above 26 C we observe an increase in the scattered intensity due to fusion. The system is unusually well suited for the study of basic mechanisms of vesicle fusion. The vesicles are flexible with a bending rigidity of only a few k(H)T. The monolayer spontaneous curvature, Ho, depends strongly on temperature in a known way and is thus tunable. For temperatures where H-0 > 0 vesicles tyre long-term stable, while in the range H-0 < 0 the fusion rate increases the more negative the Spontaneous curvature Through a quantitative;analysis of the fusion rate we arrive tit a barrier to fusion changing from 15 k(B)T at T = 26 degrees C to 10k(H) T at T = 35 degrees C. These results are compatible with the theoretical predictions using the stalk model of vesicle fusion.