Super-diffusion around the rigidity transition: Levy and the Lilliputians

F. Lechenault , R. Candelier , O. Dauchot , J.P. Bouchaud , G. Biroli

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Soft Matter, 6, 13
Published 26 May 2010
DOI: 10.1039/c000802h
ISSN: 1744-683X


By analyzing the displacement statistics of an assembly of horizontally vibrated bi-disperse frictional grains in the vicinity of the jamming transition experimentally studied before (F. Lechenault, O. Dauchot, G. Biroli and J.-P. Bouchard, Europhys. Lett., 2008, 83, 46003), we establish that their superdiffusive motion is a genuine Levy flight, but with a `jump' size that is very small compared to the diameter of the grains. The vibration induces a broad distribution of jumps that are random in time, but correlated in space, and that can be interpreted as micro-crack events at all scales. As the volume fraction departs from the critical jamming density, this distribution is truncated at a smaller and smaller jump size, inducing a crossover towards standard diffusive motion at long times. This interpretation contrasts with the idea of temporally persistent, spatially correlated currents and raises new issues regarding the analysis of the dynamics in terms of vibrational modes.