- The French-Japanese meeting on Jamming, Glasses and Phase transitions
- Unifying Concepts in Glass Physics V, where I will be presenting a poster.
A link between local structural ordering and slow dynamics has recently attracted much attention from the context of the origin of glassy slow dynamics [1, 2]. There have been a few candidates for such structural order [3, 4], icosahedral order, exotic amorphous order, and crystal-like order. Each type of order is linked to a different scenario of glass transition. Thus, revealing the order responsible for slow dynamics is crucial for our understanding of the glass transition. Here we experimentally access local structural order in polydisperse hard spheres by its particle-level observation with confocal microscopy. We identify the key structures as icosahedral and face-centred-cubic(fcc)-like order, excluding any other simple local symmetry. We find that both types of order are statistically associated with slow particles. However, when approaching the glass transition, the icosahedral order does not grow in size whereas crystal-like structures grow. It is the latter that governs the dynamics and is linked to dynamic heterogeneity. This questions the direct roles of the icosahedral ordering in glassy slow dynamics and stresses the importance of the structural order compatible with the avoided first order transition, crystallization. Our finding also suggests that the growing lengthscale of structural order is essential for the slowing down of dynamics and the nonlocal cooperativity in particle motion.
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|Reconstruction from confocal microscopy coordinates. Only structured particles are shown for clarity.|