Prof. Yacov Kantor works on several topics of statistical mechanics of random and entropy-dominated systems. The research includes both equilibrium properties and dynamics. Study of the properties of polymers plays a central role in his research.
Research achievements include: Development of a theory that views translocation of polymers through a hole in a membrane as an anomalous diffusion process. Since such processes play an important role both in biophysical systems and in the experimental manipulation of polymers, this approach became a standard language with which such processes are described. Single molecule manipulation by holding it attached to a surface, or to an atomic force microscope tip is a standard technique for more than a decade. Prof. Kantor found that forces between scale-free surfaces (such as infinite planes, cones, pyramids, etc.) mediated by flexible polymers, are universal, and can be solely described by means of critical exponents and without any reference to microscopic details of the interactions. (This is an unusual case of exponents, typically describing phase transitions, directly determining the numerical outcome of a mechanic measurement.)
Future directions include: nonequilibrium dynamics of knots and loops in polymers, study of competing adhesion of a polymer to objects of several dimensionalities, as well as behavior of polymers far from equilibrium.