Volume 85, Number 1, January 2009
Article Number 10008
Number of page(s) 5
Section General
Published online 21 January 2009
EPL, 85 (2009) 10008
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/85/10008

Helix or coil? Fate of a melting heteropolymer

G. Oshanin1 and S. Redner1, 2

1   Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de la Matière Condensée, Université Pierre et Marie Curie 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France, EU
2   Center for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University - Boston, MA 02215 USA

received 30 October 2008; accepted in final form 8 December 2008; published January 2009
published online 21 January 2009

We study the probability that a partially melted heteropolymer at the melting temperature will either melt completely or return to a helix state. This system is equivalent to the splitting probability for a diffusing particle on a finite interval that moves according to the Sinai model. When the initial fraction of melted polymer is g, the melting probability fluctuates between different realizations of monomer arrangements on the chain. For a fixed value of g, the melting probability distribution changes from unimodal to a bimodal as the strength of the disorder is increased.

05.40.-a - Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion.
02.50.Cw - Probability theory.
87.15.hp - Conformational changes.

© EPLA 2009