A colloidal system of spheres interacting with both a deep and narrow attractive potential and a shallow long-ranged barrier exhibits a prepeak in the static structure factor. This peak can be related to an additional mesoscopic length scale of clusters and/or voids in the system. Simulation studies of this system have revealed that it vitrifies upon increasing the attraction into a gel-like solid at intermediate densities. The dynamics at the mesoscopic length scale corresponding to the prepeak represents the slowest mode in the system. Using mode coupling theory with all input directly taken from simulations, we reveal the mechanism for glassy arrest in the system at 40% packing fraction. The effects of the low-q peak and of polydispersity are considered in detail. We demonstrate that the local formation of physical bonds is the process whose slowing down causes arrest. It remains largely unaffected by the large-scale heterogeneities, and sets the clock for the slow cluster mode. Results from mode-coupling theory without adjustable parameters agree semiquantitatively with the local density correlators but overestimate the lifetime of the mesoscopic structure (voids).
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2007|