Pulling knotted polymers
School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv 69978,
2 Materials Research Laboratory, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
3 Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Accepted: 12 July 2002
We compare Monte Carlo simulations of knotted and unknotted polymers whose ends are connected to two parallel walls. The force f exerted on the polymer is measured as a function of the separation R between the walls. For unknotted polymers of several monomer numbers N, the product is a simple function of , where . By contrast, knotted polymers exhibit strong finite-size effects which can be interpreted in terms of a new length scale related to the size of the knot. Based on this interpretation, we conclude that the number of monomers forming the knot scales as Nt, with .
PACS: 36.20.Ey – Conformation (statistics and dynamics) / 87.15.La – Mechanical properties / 02.10.Kn – Knot theory
© EDP Sciences, 2002