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Tuning synthetic semiflexible networks by bending stiffness

: Schuldt, Carsten; Schnauß, Jörg; Händler, Tina; Glaser, Martin; Lorenz, Jessica; Golde, Tom; Käs, Josef A.; Smith, David M.

Preprint urn:nbn:de:0011-n-4190006 (829 KByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: d62bd87f57200eb73a4213a8739c1aff
Created on: 8.11.2016

Physical review letters 117 (2016), No.19, Art. 197801, 5 pp.
ISSN: 0031-9007
ISSN: 1079-7114
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
1116/17-1; BuildMoNa
Leipzig School of Natural Sciences
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IZI ()

The mechanics of complex soft matter often cannot be understood in the classical physical frame of flexible polymers or rigid rods. The underlying constituents are semiflexible polymers, whose finite bending stiffness (κ) leads to nontrivial mechanical responses. A natural model for such polymers is the protein actin. Experimental studies of actin networks, however, are limited since the persistence length (lp∝κ) cannot be tuned. Here, we experimentally characterize this parameter for the first time in entangled networks formed by synthetically produced, structurally tunable DNA nanotubes. This material enabled the validation of characteristics inherent to semiflexible polymers and networks thereof, i.e., persistence length, inextensibility, reptation, and mesh size scaling. While the scaling of the elastic plateau modulus with concentration G0∝c7/5 is consistent with previous measurements and established theories, the emerging persistence length scaling G0∝lp opposes predominant theoretical predictions.