Polymer Translocation Across a Corrugated Channel: Fick⁻Jacobs Approximation Extended Beyond the Mean First-Passage Time.


Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme, Heisenbergstr. 3, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany. [Email]


Polymer translocation across a corrugated channel is a paradigmatic stochastic process encountered in diverse systems. The instance of time when a polymer first arrives to some prescribed location defines an important characteristic time-scale for various phenomena, which are triggered or controlled by such an event. Here we discuss the translocation dynamics of a Gaussian polymer in a periodically-corrugated channel using an appropriately generalized Fick⁻Jacobs approach. Our main aim is to probe an effective broadness of the first-passage time distribution (FPTD), by determining the so-called coefficient of variation γ of the FPTD, defined as the ratio of the standard deviation versus the mean first-passage time (MFPT). We present a systematic analysis of γ as a function of a variety of system's parameters. We show that γ never significantly drops below 1 and, in fact, can attain very large values, implying that the MFPT alone cannot characterize the first-passage statistics of the translocation process exhaustively well.


entropic barrier,first-passage time,polymer translocation,