Volume 86, Number 5, June 2009
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics|
|Published online||24 June 2009|
Kinetics of the helix-coil transition
Yerevan Physics Institute - Alikhanian Brothers Street 2, Yerevan 375036, Armenia
2 Materials Research and Education Center - 275 Wilmore Auburn University, Auburn AL 36849-5341, USA
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 28 May 2009
Based on the Zimm-Bragg model we study cooperative helix-coil transition driven by a finite-speed change of temperature. There is an asymmetry between the coil helix and helix coil transition: the latter is displayed already for finite speeds, and takes shorter time than the former. This hysteresis effect has been observed experimentally, and it is explained here via quantifying system's stability in the vicinity of the critical temperature. A finite-speed cooling induces a non-equilibrium helical phase with the correlation length larger than in equilibrium. In this phase the characteristic length of the coiled domain and the non-equilibrium specific heat can display an anomalous response to temperature changes. Several pertinent experimental results on the kinetics of helical biopolymers are discussed in detail.
PACS: 36.20.-r – Macromolecules and polymer molecules / 36.20.Ey – Conformation (statistics and dynamics) / 05.20.Dd – Kinetic theory
© EPLA, 2009
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