Thermal stiffening of clamped elastic ribbons

DD Wan and DR Nelson and MJ Bowick, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 96, 014106 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.96.014106

We use molecular dynamics to study the vibrations of a thermally fluctuating two-dimensional elastic membrane clamped at both ends. We directly extract the eigenmodes from resonant peaks in the frequency domain of the time-dependent height and measure the dependence of the corresponding eigenfrequencies on the microscopic bending rigidity of themembrane, taking care also of the subtle role of thermal contraction in generating a tension when the projected area is fixed. At finite temperatures we show that the effective (macroscopic) bending rigidity tends to a constant as the bare bending rigidity vanishes, consistent with theoretical arguments that the large-scale bending rigidity of the membrane arises from a strong thermal renormalization of the microscopic bending rigidity. Experimental realizations include covalently bonded two-dimensional atomically thin membranes such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide or soft matter systems such as the spectrin skeleton of red blood cells or diblock copolymers.

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