Skip to main content

Decoding polymer self-dynamics using a two-step approach...

by Zhiqiang Shen, Jan Michael Y Carrillo, Bobby G Sumpter, Yangyang Wang
Publication Type
Journal Name
Physical Review E
Publication Date
Page Number

The self-correlation function and corresponding self-intermediate scattering function in Fourier space are important quantities for describing the molecular motions of liquids. This work draws attention to a largely overlooked issue concerning the analysis of these space-time density-density correlation functions of polymers. We show that the interpretation of non-Gaussian behavior of polymers is generally complicated by intrachain averaging of distinct self-dynamics of different segments. By the very nature of the mathematics involved, the averaging process not only conceals critical dynamical information, but also contributes to the observed non-Gaussian dynamics. To fully expose this issue and provide a thorough benchmark of polymer self-dynamics, we perform analyses of coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of linear and ring polymer melts as well as several theoretical models using a “two-step” approach, where interchain and intrachain averagings of segmental self-dynamics are separated. While past investigations primarily focused on the average behavior, our results indicate that a more nuanced approach to polymer self-dynamics is clearly required.