Medium-range atomic correlation in simple liquids. II. Theory of temperature dependence

T Egami and CW Ryu, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 104, 064110 (2021).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.104.064110

The spatial atomic correlations in liquids and glasses extend often significantly beyond the nearest neighbors. Such correlations, called the medium-range order (MRO), affect many physical properties, but their nature is not well understood. In this article the variation of the MRO with temperature is calculated based upon the concept of the atomic- level pressure, focusing on simple liquids, such as metallic liquids. It is shown that the structural coherence length that characterizes MRO follows the Curie-Weiss law with a negative Curie temperature as observed by experiment and simulation. It is also shown that the glass transition is induced by freezing of the MRO, rather than the freezing of the nearest-neighbor shell. The implications of these results are discussed.

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