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A topologically driven glass in ring polymers

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5195-5200
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2016


The static and dynamic properties of ring polymers in concentrated solutions remains one of the last deep unsolved questions in polymer physics. At the same time, the nature of the glass transition in polymeric systems is also not well understood. In this work, we study a novel glass transition in systems made of circular polymers by exploiting the topological constraints that are conjectured to populate concentrated solutions of rings. We show that such rings strongly interpenetrate through one another, generating an extensive network of topological interactions that dramatically affects their dynamics. We show that a kinetically arrested state can be induced by randomly pinning a small fraction of the rings. This occurs well above the classical glass transition temperature at which microscopic mobility is lost. Our work both demonstrates the existence of long-lived inter-ring penetrations and realizes a novel, topologically induced, glass transition.

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