Crystallization and aging in hard-sphere glasses

C. Valeriani, E. Sanz, E. Zaccarelli, W. C. K. Poon, M. E. Cates, P. N. Pusey

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Abstract / Description of output

We report new results from our programme of molecular dynamics simulation of hard-sphere systems, focusing on crystallization and glass formation at high concentrations. First we consider a much larger system than hitherto, N = 86 400 equal-sized particles. The results are similar to those obtained with a smaller system, studied previously, showing conventional nucleation and growth of crystals at concentrations near melting and crossing over to a spinodal-like regime at higher concentrations where the free energy barrier to nucleation appears to be negligible. Second, we investigate the dependence on the initial state of the system. We have devised a Monte Carlo 'constrained aging' method to move the particles in such a way that crystallization is discouraged. After a period of such aging, the standard molecular dynamics programme is run. For a system of N = 3200, we find that constrained aging encourages caging of the particles and slows crystallization somewhat. Nevertheless, both aged and unaged systems crystallize at volume fraction phi = 0.61 whereas neither system shows full crystallization in the duration of the simulation at phi = 0.62, a concentration still significantly below that of random close packing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194117
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2011

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