Cell membrane wrapping of a spherical thin elastic shell
Nanocapsules that can be tailored intelligently and specifically have drawn considerable attention in the fields of drug delivery and bioimaging. Here we conduct a theoretical study on cell uptake of a spherical nanocapsule which is modeled as a linear elastic solid thin shell in three dimensions. It is found that there exist five wrapping phases based on the stability of three wrapping states: no wrapping, partial wrapping and full wrapping. The wrapping phase diagrams are strongly dependent on the capsule size, adhesion energy, cell membrane tension, and bending rigidity ratio between the capsule and membrane. Discussion is made on similarities and differences between the cell uptake of solid nanocapsules and fluid vesicles. The reported results may have important implications for biomedical applications of nanotechnology.