First-order phase transition in a model glass former: coupling of local structure and dynamics


Joint probability distributions for (b) the dynamical s-ensemble and (c) the structural μ-ensemble.


Recently, numerical evidence for a dynamical first-order phase transition in trajectory space [L. O. Hedges et al., Science 323, 1309 (2009)] has been found. In a model glass former in which clusters of 11 particles form upon cooling, we find that the transition has both dynamical and structural character. It occurs between an active phase with a high fraction of mobile and low fraction of cluster particles, and an inactive phase with few mobile but many cluster particles. The transition can be driven both dynamically and structurally with a chemical potential, showing that local order forms a mechanism for dynamical arrest.

T. Speck, A. Malins & C. P. Royall
Physical Review Letters 109 (19), 195703 (2012)

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.195703
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