Polymers in curved boxes

K. Yaman, P. Pincus, F. Solis, T. A. Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We apply results derived in other contexts for the spectrum of the Laplace operator in curved geometries to the study of an ideal polymer chain confined to a spherical annulus in arbitrary space dimension D and conclude that the free energy compared to its value for an uncurved box of the same thickness and volume is lower when D < 3, stays the same when D = 3, and is higher when D > 3. Thus, confining an ideal polymer chain to a cylindrical shell lowers the effective bending elasticity of the walls and might induce spontaneous symmetry breaking, i.e. bending. (Actually, the above mentioned results show that any shell in D = 3 induces this effect, except for a spherical shell.) We compute the contribution of this effect to the bending rigidities in the Helfrich free energy expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1178
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 24 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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