Spatiotemporal Hierarchy of Relaxation Events, Dynamical Heterogeneities, and Structural Reorganization in a Supercooled Liquid

R. Candelier , A. Widmer-Cooper , J.K. Kummerfeld , O. Dauchot , G. Biroli , P. Harrowell , D.R. Reichman

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Physical Review Letters, 105, 13
Published 24 Sep. 2010
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.135702
ISSN: 0031-9007


We identify the pattern of microscopic dynamical relaxation for a two-dimensional glass-forming liquid. On short time scales, bursts of irreversible particle motion, called cage jumps, aggregate into clusters. On larger time scales, clusters aggregate both spatially and temporally into avalanches. This propagation of mobility takes place along the soft regions of the systems, which have been identified by computing isoconfigurational Debye-Waller maps. Our results characterize the way in which dynamical heterogeneity evolves in moderately supercooled liquids and reveal that it is astonishingly similar to the one found for dense glassy granular media.