Spatial correlations of elementary relaxation events in glass-forming liquids

R Pastore and A Coniglio and MP Ciamarra, SOFT MATTER, 11, 7214-7218 (2015).

DOI: 10.1039/c5sm01510c

The dynamical facilitation scenario, by which localized relaxation events promote nearby relaxation events in an avalanche process, has been suggested as the key mechanism connecting the microscopic and the macroscopic dynamics of structural glasses. Here we investigate the statistical features of this process via numerical simulations of a model structural glass. First we show that the relaxation dynamics of the system occurs through particle jumps that are irreversible, and that cannot be decomposed in smaller irreversible events. Then we show that each jump does actually trigger an avalanche. The characteristics of this avalanche change upon cooling, suggesting that the relaxation dynamics crossovers from a noise dominated regime, where jumps do not trigger other relaxation events, to a regime dominated by the facilitation process, where a jump triggers more relaxation events.

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