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Abstract: Over times shorter than that required for relaxation of enthalpy, a liquidcan exhibit striking heterogeneities. The picture of these heterogeneities iscomplex with transient patches of rigidity, irregular yet persistent,intersected by tendrils of mobile particles, flickering intermittently into newspatial patterns of motion and arrest. The study of these dynamicheterogeneities has, over the last 20 years, allowed us to characterizecooperative dynamics, to identify new strategies in controlling kinetics inglass-forming liquids and to begin to systematically explore the relationshipbetween dynamics and structure that underpins the behaviour of amorphousmaterials. Computer simulations of the dynamics in atomic and molecular liquidshave played a dominant role in all of this progress. While some may be uneasyabout this reliance on modelling, it is unavoidable, given the amount ofmicroscopic detail needed to characterize the dynamic heterogeneities. Thecomplexities revealed by these simulations have called for new conceptualtools. In this essay, I have tried to provide the reader with a clear andcomplete account of how these tools have been developed in terms of theliterature on kinetic length scales in molecular dynamics simulations. Throughthe `prism- of these length scales, this essay addresses the question what havewe learnt about dynamic heterogeneities from computer simulations?



Author: Peter Harrowell

Source: https://arxiv.org/







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