Probing local structure in glass by the application of shear
NB Weingartner and Z Nussinov, JOURNAL OF STATISTICAL MECHANICS-THEORY AND EXPERIMENT, 094001 (2016).
The glass transition remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of contemporary condensed matter physics. When crystallization is bypassed by rapid cooling, a supercooled liquid, retaining amorphous particle arrangement, results. The physical phenomenology of supercooled liquids is as vast as it is interesting. Most significant, the viscosity of the supercooled liquid displays an incredible increase over a narrow temperature range. Eventually, the supercooled liquid ceases to flow, becomes a glass, and gains rigidity and solid-like behaviors. Understanding what underpins the monumental growth of viscosity, and how rigidity results without long range order is a long-sought goal. Furthermore, discerning what role local structure plays in the kinetics of supercooled liquids remains an open question. Many theories of the glassy slowdown require the growth of static lengthscale related to structure with lowering of the temperature and provide a link between slowdown and propagation of 'amorphous order'. In light of this, we examine the recently proposed shear penetration depth in the context of other length scales and its relation to local structure. We provide numerical data, based on the simulations of NiZr2, illustrating that this length scale exhibits dramatic growth upon approach to the glass transition and further discuss this in relation to percolating structural connectivity in similar glassforming systems.
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