Electromagnetic and thermal analysis for lipid bilayer membranes exposed to RF fields

Thomas F. Eibert, Mudrik Alaydrus, Friedbert Wilczewski, Volkert W. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Experiments with pulsed radio frequency fields have shown influence on the low-frequency behavior of lipid bilayer membranes. In this paper, we present an electromagnetic and thermal analysis of the used exposure device to clarify whether the observed effects have a thermal cause and to determine the fields at the lipid bilayer. In order to model the very thin lipid bilayer (about 5 nm) accurately, the electromagnetic analysis is broken into several steps employing the finite difference time domain technique and a finite element/boundary element hybrid approach. Based on the obtained power loss due to the electromagnetic fields, the temperature change is calculated using the finite element method for the solution of the heat conduction equation. Both, the electromagnetic and the thermal analysis are performed for a variety of material parameters of the exposure device. The electromagnetic analysis shows that the exposure device is capable of producing voltages on the order of 1 mV across the lipid bilayer. The combined electromagnetic and thermal calculations reveal that the temperature oscillations due to the pulsed radio frequency fields are too small to directly influence the low-frequency behavior of the lipid bilayer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioelectric phenomena
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Lipid bilayer membrane
  • Numerical analysis
  • Pulsed radio fields
  • Thermal analysis
  • Wireless communication systems


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