Crystal to glass cooling model developed

February 22, 2006

University of Tokyo scientists have discovered why cooling sometimes causes liquid molecules to form disordered glasses, rather than ordered crystals.

Researchers Hiroshi Shintani and Hajime Tanaka have developed a two-dimensional model of a simple molecular system that can be tuned continuously from one state to another, including from a crystal to a plastic crystal to a glass containing crystalline clusters.

The authors take a liquid model whose molecules would naturally form an ordered crystalline structure and add a potential favoring formation of disordered clusters of five-fold crystals. The resulting frustration in the system can then be controlled to alter the degree to which the ordered structure is formed, against the number of disordered clusters within the liquid.

They say they are able to show the liquid naturally forms both types of structure in a dynamic system. The presence of the domains provides a natural explanation for the dramatic slowing down of the dynamics in a glassy system.

The research is explained in the March issue of Nature Physics.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Microscope becomes gauge to measure forces within crystals

Related Stories

SPPS traces atoms from solid to liquid

December 6, 2005

When a snowball melts, you can tell it has achieved a liquid state when the frigid water drips through your fingers. But if you could follow the melting process, driven by the heat of your hand, from its very first moments ...

Recommended for you

Reconstructing the sixth century plague from a victim

August 30, 2016

Before the infamous Black Death, the first great plague epidemic was the Justinian plague, which, over the course of two centuries, wiped out up to an estimated 50 million (15 percent) of the world's population throughout ...

Theorists solve a long-standing fundamental problem

August 30, 2016

Trying to understand a system of atoms is like herding gnats - the individual atoms are never at rest and are constantly moving and interacting. When it comes to trying to model the properties and behavior of these kinds ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.