Giant Acceleration of DNA Diffusion in an Array of Entropic Barriers

Phys Rev Lett. 2017 Jan 27;118(4):048002. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.048002. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


We investigate with experiments and computer simulations the nonequilibrium dynamics of DNA polymers crossing arrays of entropic barriers in nanofluidic devices in a pressure-driven flow. With increasing driving pressure, the effective diffusivity of DNA rises and then peaks at a value that is many times higher than the equilibrium diffusivity. This is an entropic manifestation of "giant acceleration of diffusion." The phenomenon is sensitive to the effective energy landscape; thus, it offers a unique probe of entropic barriers in a system driven away from equilibrium.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Diffusion
  • Entropy
  • Models, Chemical
  • Thermodynamics


  • DNA