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Journal Article

Anisotropic Random Networks of Semiflexible Polymers


Zippelius,  Annette
Fellow Group Polymers, complex fluids and disordered systems, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Benetatos, P., & Zippelius, A. (2007). Anisotropic Random Networks of Semiflexible Polymers. Physical Review Letters, 99: 198301. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.99.198301.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-13F1-6
Motivated by the organization of cross-linked cytoskeletal biopolymers, we present a semimicroscopic replica field theory for the formation of anisotropic random networks of semiflexible polymers. The networks are formed by introducing random permanent cross-links which fix the orientations of the corresponding polymer segments to align with one another. Upon increasing the cross-link density, we obtain a continuous gelation transition from a fluid phase to a gel where a finite fraction of the system gets localized at random positions. For sufficiently stiff polymers, this positional localization is accompanied by a continuous isotropic-to-nematic (IN) transition occurring at the same cross-link density. As the polymer stiffness decreases, the IN transition becomes first order, shifts to a higher cross-link density, and is preceded by an amorphous solid where the average polymer orientations freeze in random directions.