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Ostermeir, Katja; Alim, Karen; Frey, Erwin (June 2010): Buckling of stiff polymer rings in weak spherical confinement. In: Physical Review E, Vol. 81, No. 6: 061802-1-061802-8




Confinement is a versatile and well-established tool to study the properties of polymers either to understand biological processes or to develop new nanobiomaterials. We investigate the conformations of a semiflexible polymer ring in weak spherical confinement imposed by an impenetrable shell. We develop an analytic argument for the dominating polymer trajectory depending on polymer flexibility considering elastic and entropic contributions. Monte Carlo simulations are performed to assess polymer ring conformations in probability densities and by the shape measures asphericity and nature of asphericity. Comparison of the analytic argument with the mean asphericity and the mean nature of asphericity confirm our reasoning to explain polymer ring conformations in the stiff regime, where elastic response prevails.