Collapse of DNA in ac electric fields

Chunda Zhou, Walter W. Reisner, Rory J. Staunton, Amir Ashan, Robert H. Austin, Robert Riehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We report that double-stranded DNA collapses in the presence of ac electric fields at frequencies of a few hundred Hertz, and does not stretch as commonly assumed. In particular, we show that confinement-stretched DNA can collapse to about one quarter of its equilibrium length. We propose that this effect is based on finite relaxation times of the counterion cloud, and the subsequent partitioning of the molecule into mutually attractive units. We discuss alternative models of those attractive units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number248103
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 16 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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