Scaling Theory of a Polymer Ejecting from a Cavity into a Semi-Space

PY Hsiao, POLYMERS, 12, 3014 (2020).

DOI: 10.3390/polym12123014

A two-stage model is developed in order to understand the scaling behaviors of single polymers ejecting from a spherical cavity through a nanopore. The dynamics of ejection is derived by balancing the free energy change with the energy dissipation during a process. The ejection velocity is found to vary with the number of monomers in the cavity, m, as m(z1)/((ND3z1)-D-x1) at the confined stage, and it turns to be m(-z2) at the non-confined stage, where N is the chain length and D the cavity diameter. The exponents are shown to be z(1)=(3 nu-1)(-1), z(2)=2 nu and x(1)=1/3, with nu being the Flory exponent. The profile of the velocity is carefully verified by performing Langevin dynamics simulations. The simulations further reveal that, at the starting point, the decreasing of m can be stalled for a good moment. It suggests the existence of a pre-stage that can be explained by using the concept of a classical nucleation theory. By trimming the pre-stage, the ejection time are properly studied by varying N, D, and phi(0) (the initial volume fraction). The scaling properties of the nucleation time are also analyzed. The results fully support the predictions of the theory. The physical pictures are given for various ejection conditions that cover the entire parameter space.

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