Fundamental differences between glassy dynamics in two and three dimensions

E Flenner and G Szamel, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 6, 7392 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8392

The two-dimensional freezing transition is very different from its three-dimensional counterpart. In contrast, the glass transition is usually assumed to have similar characteristics in two and three dimensions. Using computer simulations, here we show that glassy dynamics in supercooled two- and three-dimensional fluids are fundamentally different. Specifically, transient localization of particles on approaching the glass transition is absent in two dimensions, whereas it is very pronounced in three dimensions. Moreover, the temperature dependence of the relaxation time of orientational correlations is decoupled from that of the translational relaxation time in two dimensions but not in three dimensions. Last, the relationships between the characteristic size of dynamically heterogeneous regions and the relaxation time are very different in two and three dimensions. These results strongly suggest that the glass transition in two dimensions is different than in three dimensions.

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