On polydispersity and the hard sphere glass transition

Emanuela Zaccarelli*, Siobhan M. Liddle, Wilson C. K. Poon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We investigate the dynamics of polydisperse hard spheres at high packing fractions phi. We use extensive numerical simulations based on an experimentally-realistic particle size distribution (PSD) and compare to commonly-used PSDs such as Gaussian or top hat distribution. We find that the mode of kinetic arrest depends on the PSD's shape and not only on its variance. For the experimentally-realistic PSD we find ageing dynamics even though the density correlators decay fully to zero for phi >= 0.59. We observe substantial decoupling of the dynamics of the smallest and largest particles. While the smallest particles remain diffusive in all our simulations, a power-law describes the largest-particle diffusion, suggesting an ideal arrest at phi(c) similar to 0.588. The latter is however averted just before phi(c), due to the presence of the mobile smallest particles. In addition, we identify that a partial aging mechanism is at work, whose effects are most pronounced for the largest particles. By comparing our results with recent experimental observations of ergodic behavior up to phi similar to 0.6 in a hard-sphere system, we argue that this is an effect of polydispersity, which smears out the glass transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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