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Volume 87, Number 3, August 2009
Article Number 38001
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 24 August 2009
EPL, 87 (2009) 38001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/87/38001

Plectoneme creation reduces the rotational friction of a polymer

H. Wada1 and R. R. Netz2

1   Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto University - Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
2   Department of Physics, Technical University Munich - 85748 Garching, Germany, EU

received 3 April 2009; accepted in final form 15 July 2009; published August 2009
published online 24 August 2009

The torsional dynamics of a semiflexible polymer with a contour length L larger than its persistence length Lp that is rotated at fixed frequency $\omega _{0}$ at one end is studied by scaling arguments and hydrodynamic simulations. We find a non-equilibrium transition at a critical frequency $\omega _{*}$: In the linear regime, $\omega _{0} < \omega _{*}$, axial spinning is the dominant dissipation mode. In the non-linear regime, $\omega _{0} > \omega _{*}$, the twist dissipation mode involves the continuous creation of plectonemes close to the driven end and the rotational friction is substantially reduced.

87.15.H- - Dynamics of biomolecules.
87.16.Ka - Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies.
47.15.G- - Low-Reynolds-number (creeping) flows.

© EPLA 2009