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Entanglement in systems of curves with Periodic Boundary Conditions Panagiotou, Eleni


Periodic Boundary Conditions (PBC) are often used for the simulation of complex physical systems of open and closed curve models of polymers or vortex lines in a fluid flow. Using the Gauss linking number, we define the periodic linking number as a measure of entanglement for two oriented curves in a system employing PBC. In the case of closed curves in PBC, the periodic linking number is a topological invariant that depends on a finite number of components in the periodic system. For open curves, the periodic linking number depends upon the entire infinite system and we prove that it converges to a real number that varies continuously with the configuration. Finally, we define two cut-offs of the periodic linking number and we compare these measures when applied to a PBC model of polyethylene melts.

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