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Hallatschek, O.; Frey, Erwin; Kroy, K. (February 2005): Propagation and relaxation of tension in stiff polymers. In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 94, No. 7: 077804-1-077804-4




We present a unified theory for the longitudinal dynamic response of a stiff polymer in solution to various external perturbations (mechanical excitations, hydrodynamic flows, electrical fields, temperature quenches, etc.) that can be represented as sudden changes of ambient/boundary conditions. The theory relies on a comprehensive analysis of the nonequilibrium propagation and relaxation of backbone stresses in a wormlike chain. We recover and substantially extend previous results based on heuristic arguments. New experimental implications are pointed out.