Activated dynamics of semiflexible polymers on structured substrates
Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung, 14424, Potsdam, Germany
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Accepted: 7 January 2005
Published online: 28 January 2005
We study the thermally activated motion of semiflexible polymers in double-well potentials using field-theoretic methods. Shape, energy, and effective diffusion constant of kink excitations are calculated, and their dependence on the bending rigidity of the semiflexible polymer is determined. For symmetric potentials, the kink motion is purely diffusive whereas kink motion becomes directed in the presence of a driving force. We determine the average velocity of the semiflexible polymer based on the kink dynamics. The Kramers escape over the potential barriers proceeds by nucleation and diffusive motion of kink-antikink pairs, the relaxation to the straight configuration by annihilation of kink-antikink pairs. We consider both uniform and point-like driving forces. For the case of point-like forces the polymer crosses the potential barrier only if the force exceeds a critical value. Our results apply to the activated motion of biopolymers such as DNA and actin filaments or of synthetic polyelectrolytes on structured substrates.
PACS: 82.35.Gh Polymers on surfaces; adhesion – / 87.15.-v Biomolecules: structure and physical properties – / 87.15.He Dynamics and conformational changes – / 87.15.Tt Electrophoresis –
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag, 2005