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Physics  2014 

Multiple reentrant glass transitions in confined hard-sphere glasses

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5435

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Abstract:

Glass forming liquids exhibit a rich phenomenology upon confinement. This is often related to the effects arising from wall-fluid interactions. Here we focus on the interesting limit where the separation of the confining walls becomes of the order of a few particle diameters. For a moderately polydisperse, densely packed hard-sphere fluid confined between two smooth hard walls, we show via event-driven molecular dynamics simulations the emergence of a multiple reentrant glass transition scenario upon a variation of the wall separation. Using thermodynamic relations, this reentrant phenomenon is shown to persist also under constant chemical potential. This allows straightforward experimental investigation and opens the way to a variety of applications in micro- and nanotechnology, where channel dimensions are comparable to the size of the contained particles. The results are in-line with theoretical predictions obtained by a combination of density functional theory and the mode-coupling theory of the glass transition.

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