Composition dependence of the glass forming ability in binary mixtures: The role of demixing entropy

UK Nandi and A Banerjee and S Chakrabarty and SM Bhattacharyya, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 145, 034503 (2016).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4958630

We present a comparative study of the glass forming ability of binary systems with varying composition, where the systems have similar global crystalline structure (CsCl+fcc). Biased Monte Carlo simulations using umbrella sampling technique show that the free energy cost to create a CsCl nucleus increases as the composition of the smaller particles is decreased. We find that systems with comparatively lower free energy cost to form CsCl nucleus exhibit more pronounced pre-crystalline demixing near the liquid/crystal interface. The structural frustration between the CsCl and fcc crystal demands this demixing. We show that closer to the equimolar mixture, the entropic penalty for demixing is lower and a glass forming system may crystallize when seeded with a nucleus. This entropic penalty as a function of composition shows a non- monotonic behaviour with a maximum at a composition similar to the well known Kob-Anderson (KA) model. Although the KA model shows the maximum entropic penalty and thus maximum frustration against CsCl formation, it also shows a strong tendency towards crystallization into fcc lattice of the larger "A" particles which can be explained from the study of the energetics. Thus for systems closer to the equimolar mixture although it is the requirement of demixing which provides their stability against crystallization, for KA model it is not demixing but slow dynamics and the presence of the "B" particles make it a good glass former. The locally favoured structure around "B" particles is quite similar to the CsCl structure and the incompatibility of CsCl and fcc hinders the fcc structure growth in the KA model. Although the glass forming binary systems studied here are quite similar, differing only in composition, we find that their glass forming ability cannot be attributed to a single phenomenon. Published by AIP Publishing.

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