A semiflexible polymer can be stretched by either applying a force to it or by fixing the positions of its endpoints. The two approaches generally yield different results and correspond to experiments performed in either the Gibbs or Helmholtz statistical ensembles. Here, we derive the Helmholtz force-extension relationship for the commonly used wormlike-chain model in the strongly stretched regime. By analyzing it in comparison with the Gibbs ensemble result, we show that equivalence between the two relationships is achieved only in the long-chain thermodynamic limit.

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