We propose and numerically implement a local probe of the static self-induced heterogeneity characterizing glass-forming liquids. This method relies on the equilibrium statistics of the overlap between pairs of configurations measured in mesoscopic cavities with unconstrained boundaries. By systematically changing the location of the probed cavity, we directly detect spatial variations of the overlap fluctuations. We provide a detailed analysis of the statistics of a local estimate of the configurational entropy, and we infer an estimate of the surface tension between amorphous states, ingredients that are both at the basis of the random first-order transition theory of glass formation. Our results represent the first direct attempt to visualize and quantify the self-induced heterogeneity underpinning the thermodynamics of glass formation. They pave the way for the development of coarse-grained effective theories and for a direct assessment of the role of thermodynamics in the activated dynamics of deeply supercooled liquids.
Static self-induced heterogeneity in glass-forming liquids: Overlap as a microscope
Note: This paper is part of the JCP Special Topic on Slow Dynamics.
Benjamin Guiselin, Gilles Tarjus, Ludovic Berthier; Static self-induced heterogeneity in glass-forming liquids: Overlap as a microscope. J. Chem. Phys. 21 May 2022; 156 (19): 194503. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0086517
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