Nature of the glassy phase of RNA secondary structure

Florent Krzakala 1, Marc Mézard 1, Markus Muller 1

Europhysics Letters (EPL) 57 (2002) 752-758

We characterize the low temperature phase of a simple model for RNA secondary structures by determining the typical energy scale E(l) of excitations involving l bases. At zero temperature, we find a scaling law E(l) \sim l^\theta with \theta \approx 0.23, and this same scaling holds at low enough temperatures. Above a critical temperature, there is a different phase characterized by a relatively flat free energy landscape resembling that of a homopolymer with a scaling exponent \theta=1. These results strengthen the evidence in favour of the existence of a glass phase at low temperatures.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud