The Topological Glass


Matthew Turner, Warwick University


2017.09.25 14:00-15:00


601, Pao Yue-Kong Library


The topological state of ring polymers that are unable to undergo strand crossing events is conserved. This provides a strong constraint on both their static and dynamic properties. We are interested in the dynamics of concentrated solutions of ring polymers, in particular those synthesised in the unknotted and unlinked state. By employing Langevin dynamics-based simulations we study the properties of these systems both (i) embedded in a gel and (ii) in solution but with a finite fraction of the chains mobilised. By analysing these results we show for the first time that inter-ring threadings exist, that they can be long lived and that they slow the overall dynamics. For very long rings we discuss how this may give rise to a novel state of matter that we refer to as a “topological glass”.


Matthew Turner obtained his PhD from Cambridge University in 1991 under the direction of Prof Mike Cates, now Lucasian professor. Later study with Prof Joanny (France) preceded independent fellowships at UCSB and Rockefeller University in the USA. He has been a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and, most recently, an EPSRC Leadership Fellow. He is currently a full professor of Physics and a member of the Centre for Complexity Science at Warwick University in England. In recent years he has enjoyed visiting positions in France, including Joliot-Curie and Mayant-Rothschild chairs at ESPCI and Institut Curie.