Interface-mediated interactions between particles: A geometrical approach
Particles bound to an interface interact because they deform its shape. The stresses that result are fully encoded in the geometry and described by a divergence-free surface stress tensor. This stress tensor can be used to express the force on a particle as a line integral along any conveniently chosen closed contour that surrounds the particle. The resulting expression is exact (i.e., free of any “smallness” assumptions) and independent of the chosen surface parametrization. Additional surface degrees of freedom, such as vector fields describing lipid tilt, are readily included in this formalism. As an illustration, we derive the exact force for several important surface Hamiltonians in various symmetric two-particle configurations in terms of the midplane geometry; its sign is evident in certain interesting limits. Specializing to the linear regime, where the shape can be analytically determined, these general expressions yield force-distance relations, several of which have originally been derived by using an energy-based approach.