The behavior of DNA molecules is observed in a nanofluidic device near the interface of two regions that produce different configuration entropies. An electric field is applied to drive the molecules partway across the interface. Upon removal of the field, the molecules recoil to the higher-entropy region with a profile characteristic of a force localized to the interface and independent of length. This is consistent with a confinement-mediated entropic force, distinct from the well-known entropic elasticity common to all polymers. An estimate of the hydrodynamic drag is used to produce a lower bound for the force. The phenomenon can be exploited to separate long-strand polyelectrolytes according to length.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)