The interplay between short-range attractions and long-range repulsions (SALR) characterizes the so-called liquids with competing interactions, which are known to exhibit a variety of equilibrium and non-equilibrium phases. The theoretical description of the phenomenology associated with glassy or gel states in these systems has to take into account both the presence of thermodynamic instabilities (such as those defining the spinodal line and the so called λ line) and the limited capability to describe genuine non-equilibrium processes from first principles. Here, we report the first application of the non-equilibrium self-consistent generalized Langevin equation theory to the description of the dynamical arrest processes that occur in SALR systems after being instantaneously quenched into a state point in the regions of thermodynamic instability. The physical scenario predicted by this theory reveals an amazing interplay between the thermodynamically driven instabilities, favoring equilibrium macro- and micro-phase separation, and the kinetic arrest mechanisms, favoring non-equilibrium amorphous solidification of the liquid into an unexpected variety of glass and gel states.
The short-time self-diffusion coefficient D0 is related by Einstein’s relation, D0 = kBT/ζ0, with ζ0 being the corresponding short-time friction coefficient [determined by its Stokes expression81 in colloidal liquids or by the kinetic (or “Doppler”82) friction coefficient in the case of molecular liquids83].