Mathematics, Differential Geometry, Differential Geometry (math.DG), Optimization and Control (math.OC)
A model describing cell membranes as optimal shapes with regard to the $L^2$-deficit of their mean curvature to a given constant called spontaneous curvature is considered. It is shown that the corresponding energy functional is lower semi-continuous with respect to oriented varifold convergence on a space of surfaces whose second fundamental form is uniformly bounded in $L^2$. Elementary examples are presented showing that the latter condition is necessary. As a consequence, smoothly embedded minimisers among surfaces of higher genus are obtained. Moreover, it is shown that the diameter of a connected surface is controlled by the $L^1$-deficit of its mean curvature to the spontaneous curvature leading to an improved condition for the existence of minimisers. Finally, the diameter bound can be applied to obtain an isoperimetric inequality.