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Title: Dynamic phase coexistence in glass–forming liquids
Authors: Pastore, Raffaele
Coniglio, Antonio
Ciamarra, Massimo Pica
Issue Date: 2015
Source: Pastore, R., Coniglio, A., & Ciamarra, M. P. (2015). Dynamic phase coexistence in glass–forming liquids. Scientific Reports, 5, 11770-.
Series/Report no.: Scientific Reports
Abstract: One of the most controversial hypotheses for explaining the heterogeneous dynamics of glasses postulates the temporary coexistence of two phases characterized by a high and by a low diffusivity. In this scenario, two phases with different diffusivities coexist for a time of the order of the relaxation time and mix afterwards. Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure the single-particle diffusivities to test this hypothesis. Indeed, although the non-Gaussian shape of the van-Hove distribution suggests the transient existence of a diffusivity distribution, it is not possible to infer from this quantity whether two or more dynamical phases coexist. Here we provide the first direct observation of the dynamical coexistence of two phases with different diffusivities, by showing that in the deeply supercooled regime the distribution of the single-particle diffusivities acquires a transient bimodal shape. We relate this distribution to the heterogeneity of the dynamics and to the breakdown of the Stokes-Einstein relation, and we show that the coexistence of two dynamical phases occurs up to a timescale growing faster than the relaxation time on cooling, for some of the considered models. Our work offers a basis for rationalizing the dynamics of supercooled liquids and for relating their structural and dynamical properties.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/srep11770
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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