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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Glassy Materials: Temporal and spatial heterogeneities close to dynamical arrest


Our proposal aims to contribute to one of the most important open question in condensed matter physics: What is the nature of the glassy state?. It still is a great mystery why upon minor changes in composition, and in the absence of a structural transition, a solid glass is formed from a liquid. Most recent progress in the field has been made using micron sized colloidal particles as model systems for glass formers. The unifying feature of many complex materials is the unusual viscoelastic behaviour at in creased densities driven by dynamical arrest into a glassy phase.

The relevance for many practical applications is obvious. Numerous examples can be found in cosmetics, food, paints, plastics only to name a few. It is generally acknowledged that access to local microscopic length scale will be of key importance. Such access is however largely missing in existing experiments. In our proposal we outline a plan to develop and apply a new experiment tool to study colloidal suspensions close to dynamical arrest.

Our spatially resolved light scattering scheme will provide access to both temporal and spatial heterogeneities. Such dynamic speckle imaging shall provide insight into the distribution of dynamic activity when a glass is formed from a liquid. Our proposal will be a timely contribution to a very active field of research. Based on the growing understanding of the phenomenology and very active theoretical research there is now an increasing need for novel experimental approaches Our project is thus ideally suited to give an answer to this demand.

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