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Deformation of DNA molecules by hydrodynamic focusing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 December 2003

PAK KIN WONG
Affiliation:
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
YI-KUEN LEE
Affiliation:
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong
CHIH-MING HO
Affiliation:
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Abstract

The motion of a DNA molecule in a solvent flow reflects the deformation of a nano/microscale flexible mass–spring structure by the forces exerted by the fluid molecules. The dynamics of individual molecules can reveal both fundamental properties of the DNA and basic understanding of the complex rheological properties of long-chain molecules. In this study, we report the dynamics of isolated DNA molecules under homogeneous extensional flow. Hydrodynamic focusing generates homogeneous extensional flow with uniform velocity in the transverse direction. The deformation of individual DNA molecules in the flow was visualized with video fluorescence microscopy. A coil–stretch transition was observed when the Deborah number (De) is larger than 0.8. With a sudden stopping of the flow, the DNA molecule relaxes and recoils. The longest relaxation time of T2 DNA was determined to be 0.63 s when scaling viscosity to 0.9 cP.

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© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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