Famously described as 'the deepest problem in solid state physics' by Nobel Laureate, Philip Andersen, the glass transition, by which a liquid transforms into a solid without freezing, is shedding its mystique.
Until now, researchers' understanding has been splintered at best, with mutually incompatible interpretations of the physical processes underlying the emergence of amorphous solids (glasses).
Now a team of scientists from the University of Bristol and Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz in Germany may have found the missing fragment, enabling the reconciliation of differing interpretations.
Dr Paddy Royall from the University of Bristol's School of Physics, explained: "The challenge boils down to whether glass is a true solid in its own right - the so-called thermodynamic interpretation - or whether in essence glass is 'just' a very viscous liquid, albeit with a viscosity so large that pouring a 'glass' of glass would take around a million times the age of the universe - the so-called dynamic interpretation."
In the thermodynamic interpretation, upon sufficient cooling, a very unusual material known as an 'ideal glass' would form.
Such an ideal glass, like a crystal, has only one way of organizing the constituent atoms - yet mysteriously, is amorphous and disordered.
The paradox of how there can be only one way of arranging the atoms in a disordered material remains, but measurements made by the Anglo-German collaboration indicate that their samples are very close to the ideal glass.
The Bristol team, led by Dr Royall and Dr Francesco Turci, worked with Professor Thomas Speck in Mainz to produce novel methods to produce samples exceptionally close to ideal glasses.
Dr Royall said: "In doing so, they found that the dynamical interpretation of the glass transition seems to end at a 'critical point', which is close to, or even coincides with, the temperature at which the ideal glass is formed.
"In other words, the dynamical and thermodynamic interpretations of the glass transition are different reflections of the same underlying phenomenon."
'Nonequilibrium Phase Transition in an Atomistic Glassformer: The Connection to Thermodynamics' by Francesco Turci, C. Patrick Royall, and Thomas Speck in Physical Review X.
Shona East | EurekAlert!
Subnano lead particles show peculiar decay behavior
26.04.2018 | Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor
25.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Information Technology