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Published October 8, 2008 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Heterogeneity in structurally arrested hard spheres


When cooled or compressed sufficiently rapidly, a liquid vitrifies into a glassy amorphous state. Vitrification in a dense liquid is associated with jamming of the particles. For hard spheres, the density and degree of order in the final structure depend on the compression rate: simple intuition suggests, and previous computer simulation demonstrates, that slower compression results in states that are both denser and more ordered. In this work, we use the Lubachevsky-Stillinger algorithm to generate a sequence of structurally arrested hard-sphere states by varying the compression rate. We find that while the degree of order, as measured by both bond-orientation and translation order parameters, increases monotonically with decreasing compression rate, the density of the arrested state first increases, then decreases, then increases again, as the compression rate decreases, showing a minimum at an intermediate compression rate. Examination of the distribution of the local order parameters and the distribution of the root-mean-square fluctuation of the particle positions, as well as direct visual inspection of the arrested structures, reveal that they are structurally heterogeneous, consisting of disordered, amorphous regions and locally ordered crystal-like domains. In particular, the low-density arrested states correspond with many interconnected small crystal clusters that form a polycrystalline network interspersed in an amorphous background, suggesting that jamming by the domains may be an important mechanism for these states.

Additional Information

Copyright © Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing Limited 2008. Received 17 July 2008, accepted for publication 9 September 2008. Published 8 October 2008. Print publication: Issue 2 (October 2008). This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (20574070, 20734003, 20620120105) Programs and the Fund for Creative Research Groups (50621302). ZYS also acknowledges the financial support of JLSTP (20070113).

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August 22, 2023
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