Dynamics of self-threading ring polymers in a gel†
We study the dynamics of ring polymers confined to diffuse in a background gel at low concentrations. We do this in order to probe the inter-play between topology and dynamics in ring polymers. We develop an algorithm that takes into account the possibility that the rings hinder their own motion by passing through themselves, i.e. “self-threading”. Our results suggest that the number of self-threadings scales extensively with the length of the rings and that this is substantially independent of the details of the model. The slowing down of the rings' dynamics is found to be related to the fraction of segments that can contribute to the motion. Our results give a novel perspective on the motion of ring polymers in a gel, for which a complete theory is still lacking, and may help us to understand the irreversible trapping of ring polymers in gel electrophoresis experiments.