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Static correlations functions and domain walls in glass-forming liquids: the case of a sandwich geometry

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      Abstract

      The problem of measuring nontrivial static correlations in deeply supercooled liquids made recently some progress thanks to the introduction of amorphous boundary conditions, in which a set of free particles is subject to the effect of a different set of particles frozen into their (low temperature) equilibrium positions. In this way, one can study the crossover from nonergodic to ergodic phase, as the size of the free region grows and the effect of the confinement fades. Such crossover defines the so-called point-to-set correlation length, which has been measured in a spherical geometry, or cavity. Here, we make further progress in the study ofcorrelations under amorphous boundary conditions by analyzing the equilibrium properties of a glass-forming liquid, confined in a planar ("sandwich") geometry. The mobile particles are subject to amorphous boundary conditions with the particles in the surrounding walls frozen into their low temperature equilibrium configurations. Compared to the cavity, the sandwich geometry has three main advantages: i) the width of the sandwich is decoupled from its longitudinal size, making the thermodynamic limit possible; ii) for very large width, the behaviour off a single wall can be studied; iii) we can use "anti-parallel" boundary conditions to force a domain wall and measure its excess energy. Our results confirm that amorphous boundary conditions are indeed a very useful new tool inthe study of static properties of glass-forming liquids, but also raise some warning about the fact that not all correlation functions that can be calculated in this framework give the same qualitative results.

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      Although it has long been recognized that dynamics in supercooled liquids might be spatially heterogeneous, only in the past few years has clear evidence emerged to support this view. As a liquid is cooled far below its melting point, dynamics in some regions of the sample can be orders of magnitude faster than dynamics in other regions only a few nanometers away. In this review, the experimental work that characterizes this heterogeneity is described. In particular, the following questions are addressed: How large are the heterogeneities? How long do they last? How much do dynamics vary between the fastest and slowest regions? Why do these heterogeneities arise? The answers to these questions influence practical applications of glass-forming materials, including polymers, metallic glasses, and pharmaceuticals.
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        Scaling concepts for the dynamics of viscous liquids near an ideal glassy state

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          Stable and metastable states in mean-field Potts and structural glasses

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            26 September 2012
            1209.5954 10.1063/1.4771973

            http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

            Custom metadata
            Submited to JCP special issue on the glass transision
            cond-mat.dis-nn

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