Large deviations of Rouse polymer chain: First passage problem.

The Journal of chemical physics

PubMedID: 26627948

Cao J, Zhu J, Wang Z, Likhtman AE. Large deviations of Rouse polymer chain: First passage problem. J Chem Phys. 2015;143(20):204105.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate several analytical methods of solving first passage (FP) problem for the Rouse model, a simplest model of a polymer chain. We show that this problem has to be treated as a multi-dimensional Kramers' problem, which presents rich and unexpected behavior. We first perform direct and forward-flux sampling (FFS) simulations and measure the mean first-passage time t(z) for the free end to reach a certain distance z away from the origin. THE RESULTS
show that the mean FP time is getting faster if the Rouse chain is represented by more beads.Two scaling regimes of t(z) are observed, with transition between them varying as a function of chain length. We use these simulation results to test two theoretical approaches. One is a well known asymptotic theory valid in the limit of zero temperature. We show that this limit corresponds to fully extended chain when each chain segment is stretched, which is not particularly realistic. A new theory based on the well known Freidlin-Wentzell theory is proposed, where dynamics is projected onto the minimal action path. The new theory predicts both scaling regimes correctly, but fails to get the correct numerical prefactor in the first regime. Combining our theory with the FFS simulations leads us to a simple analytical expression valid for all extensions and chain lengths. One of the applications of polymer FP problem occurs in the context of branched polymer rheology. In this paper, we consider the arm-retraction mechanism in the tube model, which maps exactly on the model we have solved.

THE RESULTS
are compared to the Milner-McLeish theory without constraint release, which is found to overestimate FP time by a factor of 10 or more.