Constrained dynamics of localized excitations causes a non-equilibrium phase transition in an atomistic model of glass formers

T Speck and D Chandler, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 136, 184509 (2012).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4712026

Recent progress has demonstrated that trajectory space for both kinetically constrained lattice models and atomistic models can be partitioned into a liquid-like and an inactive basin with a non- equilibrium phase transition separating these behaviors. Recent work has also established that excitations in atomistic models have statistics and dynamics like those in a specific class of kinetically constrained models. But it has not been known whether the non-equilibrium phase transitions occurring in the two classes of models have similar origins. Here, we show that the origin is indeed similar. In particular, we show that the number of excitations identified in an atomistic model serves as the order parameter for the inactive-active phase transition for that model. In this way, we show that the mechanism by which excitations are correlated in an atomistic model - by dynamical facilitation - is the mechanism from which the active-inactive phase transition emerges. We study properties of the inactive phase and show that it is amorphous lacking long-range order. We also discuss the choice of dynamical order parameters. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics.

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