Understanding the dynamics of ring polymers is a particularly challenging yet interesting problem in soft materials. Despite recent progress, a complete understanding of the nonequilibrium behavior of ring polymers has not yet been achieved. In this work, we directly observe the flow dynamics of DNA-based rings in semidilute linear polymer solutions using single molecule techniques. Our results reveal strikingly large conformational fluctuations of rings in extensional flow long after the initial transient stretching process has terminated, which is observed even at extremely low concentrations (0.025 c * ) of linear polymers in the background solution. The magnitudes and characteristic timescales of ring conformational fluctuations are determined as functions of flow strength and polymer concentration. Our results suggest that ring conformational fluctuations arise due to transient threading of linear polymers through open ring chains stretching in flow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)