Relaxation of surface-tethered polymers under moderate confinement
We study the relaxation of surface-tethered polymers in microchannels under moderate confinement (i.e. h ∼ Rg, where h is the channel height and Rg is the radius of gyration of the polymer) by experiments with fluorescence-marked DNA molecules and coupled lattice-Boltzmann/molecular dynamics simulations. The determined scaling exponent suggests that the relaxation is dominated by Zimm-dynamics with significant intra-chain hydrodynamic interactions. The relaxation of the DNA molecules is slower in shallower channels, indicating a pronounced effect of confinement on the longest relaxation time. An experimental correlation is obtained for the longest relaxation time as a function of the molecular contour length and the channel height. Good agreement between the experimental and the simulation results is found.