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Polymer Dynamics: Simulations and Experiments

Amit Kushwaha

IIT Guwahati
B.Tech. Mechanical Engineering

During the last decade, the advancement in fluorescence microscopy has allowed researchers to understand the polymer processes by examining DNA "one molecule at a time". This approach, in contrast to the bulk measurement approach of the past, has created a tremendous opportunity to both revisit unanswered questions in the field polymer dynamics, as well as to examine new areas surrounding the engineering of flow dynamics of complex fluids in microfluidic devices.

In our research group, we perform single molecule experiments on DNA in linear flows and probe its motion at molecular level. This experimental investigation is complemented by novel computational models. These models use Brownian dynamics (BD) as a tool to describe the motion of molecules. The simulations are computationally extensive, and hence also necessitate the extraction of inherent parallelism in BD simulations. We are also working towards parallelizing our solution algorithms so as to be able to simulate large polymers in future.

My current research focus is on polymer dynamics in concentrated solutions. I am working on a recently proposed model for Brownian dynamics simulations of entangled polymeric liquids. Along with the simulations, I am also doing single molecule experiments on fluorescently tagged DNA in concentrated solutions. We believe that this coupling of experiments with dynamic simulations will provide a better understanding of the dynamics of entangled polymers.

  Figure1: Variation of standard deviation of bead positions with Deborah Number in dilute polymer solutions.

  Figure2: Variation of longest relaxation time to number of entanglements in entangled polymeric solutions.
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