Scientific article
Open access

Ergodicity and slowing down in glass-forming systems with soft potentials: no finite-temperature singularities

Publication date2008

The aim of this paper is to discuss some basic notions regarding generic glass-forming systems composed of particles interacting via soft potentials. Excluding explicitly hard-core interaction, we discuss the so-called glass transition in which a supercooled amorphous state is formed, accompanied by a spectacular slowing down of relaxation to equilibrium, when the temperature is changed over a relatively small interval. Using the classical example of a 50-50 binary liquid of N particles with different interaction length scales, we show the following. (i) The system remains ergodic at all temperatures. (ii) The number of topologically distinct configurations can be computed, is temperature independent, and is exponential in N. (iii) Any two configurations in phase space can be connected using elementary moves whose number is polynomially bounded in N, showing that the graph of configurations has the small world property. (iv) The entropy of the system can be estimated at any temperature (or energy), and there is no Kauzmann crisis at any positive temperature. (v) The mechanism for the super-Arrhenius temperature dependence of the relaxation time is explained, connecting it to an entropic squeeze at the glass transition. (vi) There is no Vogel-Fulcher crisis at any finite temperature T>0.

Citation (ISO format)
ECKMANN, Jean-Pierre, PROCACCIA, Itamar. Ergodicity and slowing down in glass-forming systems with soft potentials: no finite-temperature singularities. In: Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics, 2008, vol. 78, p. 10. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.78.011503
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1539-3755

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