Volume 77, Number 6, March 2007
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||27 February 2007|
Stretching helical nano-springs at finite temperature
Physics Department, Technical University Munich - 85748 Garching, Germany
Accepted: 25 January 2007
Using dynamic simulations and analytic methods, we study the elastic response of a helical filament subject to uniaxial tension over a wide range of bend and twist persistence length. A low-pitch helix at low temperatures exhibits a stretching instability and the force-extension curve consists of a sequence of spikes. At elevated temperature (i.e. small persistence lengths) the helix melts and a pronounced force plateau is obtained in the fixed-extension ensemble. The torque boundary condition significantly affects the resulting elastic properties.
PACS: 87.15.-v – Biomolecules: structure and physical properties / 62.25.+g – Mechanical properties of nanoscale materials / 82.37.Gk – STM and AFM manipulations of a single molecule
© Europhysics Letters Association, 2007
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