Universal nature of dynamic heterogeneity in glass-forming liquids: A comparative study of metallic and polymeric glass-forming liquids

XY Wang and WS Xu and H Zhang and JF Douglas, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 151, 184503 (2019).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5125641

Glass-formation is a ubiquitous phenomenon that is often observed in a broad class of materials ranging from biological matter to commonly encountered synthetic polymer, as well as metallic and inorganic glass- forming (GF) materials. Despite the many regularities in the dynamical properties of GF materials, the structural origin of the universal dynamical properties of these materials has not yet been identified. Recent simulations of coarse-grained polymeric GF liquids have indicated the coexistence of clusters of mobile and immobile particles that appear to be directly linked, respectively, to the rate of molecular diffusion and structural relaxation. The present work examines the extent to which these distinct types of "dynamic heterogeneity" (DH) arise in metallic GF liquids (Cu-Zr, Ni-Nb, and Pd-Si alloys) having a vastly different molecular structure and chemistry. We first identified mobile and immobile particles and their transient clusters and found the DH in the metallic alloys to be remarkably similar in form to polymeric GF liquids, confirming the "universality" of the DH phenomenon. Furthermore, the lifetime of the mobile particle clusters was found to be directly related to the rate of diffusion in these materials, while the lifetime of immobile particles was found to be proportional to the structural relaxation time, providing some insight into the origin of decoupling in GF liquids. An examination of particles having a locally preferred atomic packing, and clusters of such particles, suggests that there is no one-to-one relation between these populations of particles so that an understanding of the origin of DH in terms of static fluid structure remains elusive. Published under license by AIP Publishing.

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