Translation-rotation decoupling of tracers reflects medium-range crystalline order in two-dimensional colloid glasses

DJ Chun and Y Oh and BJ Sung, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 104, 054615 (2021).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.104.054615

The dynamic heterogeneity and the translation-rotation decoupling are the dynamic signatures of glasses and supercooled liquids. Whether and how the dynamic heterogeneity would relate to the local structure of glasses has been a puzzle for decades. In this work we perform molecular dynamics simulations for tracers in both two-dimensional polydisperse colloids (2DPC) and two-dimensional binary colloids (2DBC). In 2DPC glasses, hexatic local structures develop at low enough temperatures and grow quickly along with the dynamic correlation length of the 2DPC, which is well known as the medium-range crystalline order (MRCO). In 2DBC glasses, on the other hand, any explicit local structure has not been reported to grow significantly with the dynamic correlation length at low temperatures. We introduce two different types of tracers into colloidal systems: A diamond tracer that resembles the MRCO of 2DPC glasses and a square tracer that is dissimilar to any local structure of glasses. The translation-rotation decoupling of the diamond tracer in 2DPC glasses is much more significant than that of the square tracer in the same 2DPC glasses. On the other hand, such a tracer shape-dependence of the decoupling is not observed in 2DBC glasses where the local hexatic structure does not develop significantly. We introduce a shape- dependency parameter of the decoupling and find that the shape- dependency parameter grows along with the dynamic correlation length in 2DPC glasses but not in 2DBC glasses. This illustrates that the dynamic heterogeneity and the translation-rotation decoupling of tracers could reveal the local structure that develops in glasses.

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