Thermodynamic fluctuations in supercooled liquids


Ludovic Berthier (University of Montpellier)


Theoretical approaches to the physics of glass-forming materials can be broadly organized in two categories, putting forward either a static (configurational entropy, geometrical motifs) or a dynamic (defects, dynamic facilitation) viewpoint. I will present results from computer simulations showing that viscous liquids approaching the glass transition develop non-trivial thermodynamic fluctuations which strongly correlate with the emergence of slow dynamics. I will show that a direct consequence of these findings is the possibility to induce equilibrium phase transitions by applying external fields to supercooled liquids. We present numerical results supporting the existence of two of such transitions, which are naturally described in the context of the random first order transition theory of the glass transition.

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