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CAMP: Collapsing and packed polymers: an interplay of dynamics and topology

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Guy Bunin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
17 November 2015 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
339 Davey Laboratory
Contact Name
Mikael Rechtsman
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Polymers cannot cross, and so obey topological constraints that crucially affect their dynamics and equilibrium properties. How to deal with such non-local constraints is a major open theoretical challenge. We will discuss two works, providing complementary perspectives on the field. The first examines a polymer after rapid crumpling, conjectured long ago to have a fractal structure that has so far remained elusive. Building on topological constraints we propose a coarse-grained model, which makes an analogy between polymer collapse and water condensing on a cold surface. Surprisingly, the model reproduces quantitatively features of the collapsed structure, suggesting that the slow approach to scaling is related to a wide distribution of sizes of ‘water drops’. In the second part we address the effects of topological constraints, using a model of non-entangled directed polymers which is fully interacting yet simple enough to give definite results for the universal properties. The results differ significantly from the predictions of the best available theories, and highlight the important role of many-polymer interactions.