The glass transition
Liquids that are cooled sufficiently slowly undergo a first order transition at their melting temperature as they crystallize into a periodic, ordered structure. However, if cooled rapidly, the crystallization process can be avoided, and the supercooled phase entered instead. Some materials' viscosity exhibits an extremely dramatic dependence on temperature when in the supercooled phase - it can grow by several orders of magnitude upon a reduction of a mere few percent in temperature. The relative sensitivity of the viscosity of supercooled liquids to temperature variations is commonly known as "fragility"; the stronger the dependence of the viscosity on temperature, the more fragile a supercooled liquid is said to be.
The phenomenon of fragility presents one of the most mysterious unsurmounted challanges of theoretical condensed matter physics for decades now. In my research I study simple model glass formers, in an effort to identify relations between various characteristics of the microscopic structure, and the huge slowing-down of the dynamics seen in the supercooled liquid phase.
- Smarajit Karmakar, Edan Lerner, and Itamar Procaccia, Direct estimate of the static length-scale accompanying the glass transition, Physica A 391, 1001 (2012), also arXiv:1104.1036.
- Edan Lerner, Itamar Procaccia, and Jacques Zylberg, Statistical mechanics and dynamics of a three-dimensional glass-forming system, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 125701 (2009), also arXiv:0902.1888.
- Laurent Boué, Edan Lerner, Itamar Procaccia, and Jacques Zylberg, Predictive statistical mechanics for glass forming systems, J. Stat. Mech. P11010 (2009), also arXiv:0905.3962.
- Edan Lerner, Itamar Procaccia, and Ido Regev, Quantitative theory of a time-correlation function in a one-component glass-forming liquid with anisotropic potential, Phys. Rev. E 79, 031501 (2009), also arXiv:0806.3685.
- Edan Lerner and Itamar Procaccia, Quantitative theory of a relaxation function in a glass-forming system, Phys. Rev. E 78, 020501(R) (2008), also arXiv:0804.1205.
- Valery Ilyin, Edan Lerner, T.-S. Lo, and Itamar Procaccia,Statistical mechanics of the glass transition in one-component liquids with an anisotropic potential, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 135702 (2007), also arXiv:0705.1043.