Barrier crossing of a semiflexible ring polymer

K. Lee, W. Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Motivated by the dynamics of a membrane in response to an external force, we study the thermally activated crossing of a semiflexible ring polymer over a potential barrier. For the bistable potential of Kramers type smoothly varying over a long length scale, we calculate the crossing rate using the multidimensional Kramers’ rate theory and the functional integral method. We find that, due to its conformational fluctuation, the rate for a flexible ring is much larger than that for a stiff ring. For a sufficiently long chain length or a sufficiently weak bending modulus, the ring undergoes a compact-stretch transition. The stretched conformation of the chain results in a decrease of the activation energy and so the further increase of the rate. This result implies that the soft matter conformational flexibility and adaptability facilitate the barrier crossing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


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