Dynamics of Phospholipid Membranes beyond Thermal Undulations

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© 2018 American Chemical Society. We investigated the molecular dynamics of unilamellar liposomes by neutron spin echo spectroscopy. We report the first experimental evidence of a short-range motion at the length scale of the size of the headgroup of a lipid. The associated mean squared displacement shows a t0.26 dependence in the pico- to nanosecond region that indicates another process beyond the predictions of the Zilman-Granek (ZG) model (t0.66) and translational diffusion (t1). A comparison with theory shows that the observed low exponent is associated with a non-Gaussian transient trapping of lipid molecules in a local area and supports the continuous time random walk model. The analysis of the mean squared displacement leads to the important conclusion that the friction at the interface between water and liposomes plays a minor role. Center of mass diffusion of liposomes and transient trapping of lipids define the range in which the ZG model can be applied to analyze membrane fluctuations.

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Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

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