Cage-jump motion reveals universal dynamics and non-universal structural features in glass forming liquids

R Pastore and A Coniglio and A de Candia and A Fierro and MP Ciamarra, JOURNAL OF STATISTICAL MECHANICS-THEORY AND EXPERIMENT, 054050 (2016).

DOI: 10.1088/1742-5468/2016/05/054050

The sluggish and heterogeneous dynamics of glass forming liquids is frequently associated to the transient coexistence of two phases of particles, respectively with a high and low mobility. In the absence of a dynamical order parameter that acquires a transient bimodal shape, these phases are commonly identified empirically, which makes it difficult to investigate their relation with the structural properties of the system. Here we show that the distribution of single particle diffusivities can be accessed within a continuous time random walk description of the intermittent motion, and that this distribution acquires a transient bimodal shape in the deeply supercooled regime, thus allowing for a clear identification of the two coexisting phases. In a simple two-dimensional glass forming model, the dynamic phase coexistence is accompanied by a striking structural counterpart: the distribution of the crystalline-like order parameter becomes also bimodal on cooling, with increasing overlap between ordered and immobile particles. This simple structural signature is absent in other models, such as the three-dimesional Kob-Andersen Lennard-Jones mixture, where more sophisticated order parameters might be relevant. In this perspective, the identification of the two dynamical coexisting phases opens the way to deeper investigations of structure-dynamics correlations.

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