Dynamics of fatty acid vesicles in response to pH stimuli†
We investigate the dynamics of decanoic acid/decanoate (DA) vesicles in response to pH stimuli. Two types of dynamic processes induced by the micro-injection of NaOH solutions are sequentially observed: deformations and topological transitions. In the deformation stage, DA vesicles show a series of shape deformations, i.e., prolate–oblate–stomatocyte-sphere. In the topological transition stage, spherical DA vesicles follow either of the two pathways, pore formation and vesicle fusion. The pH stimuli modify a critical aggregation concentration of DA molecules, which causes the solubilization of DA molecules in the outer leaflet of the vesicle bilayers. This solubilization decreases the outer surface area of the vesicle, thereby increasing surface tension. A kinetic model based on area difference elasticity theory can accurately describe the dynamics of DA vesicles triggered by pH stimuli.