Volume 83, Number 5, September 2008
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||28 August 2008|
Structural transitions and soft modes in frustrated DNA crystals
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, MA 01003, USA
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 16 July 2008
Relying on symmetry considerations appropriate for helical biopolymers such as DNA and filamentous actin, we argue that crystalline packings of mutually repulsive helical macromolecules fall principally into two categories: unfrustrated (hexagonal) and frustrated (rhombohedral). For both cases, we construct the Landau-Ginzburg free energy for the 2D columnar-hexagonal to 3D crystalline phase transition, including the coupling between molecular displacements along biopolymer backbone to displacements in the plane of hexagonal order. We focus on the distinct elastic properties that emerge upon crystallization of helical arrays due to this coupling. Specifically, we demonstrate that frustrated states universally exhibit a highly anisotropic in-plane elastic response, characterized by an especially soft compliance to simple-shear deformations and a comparatively large resistance to those deformations that carry the array from the low- to high-density crystalline states of DNA.
PACS: 87.16.dr – Assembly and interactions / 64.70.Nd – Structural transitions in nanoscale materials / 87.14.gk – DNA
© EPLA, 2008
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