Low Temperature Physics: 37, 439 (2011); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3606462 (6 pages)
Физика Низких Температур: Том 37, Выпуск 5 (Май 2011), c. 551-557    ( к оглавлению , назад )

Loosing thermodynamic stability in amorphous materials

Valery B. Kokshenev

Departamento de Fнsica, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciкncias Exatas Caixa Postal 702, CEP 30123-970, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
E-mail: valery@fisica.ufmg.br

Received December 1, 2010


The primary relaxation dynamics near the glass transformation temperature Tg exhibits universal features in all glass formers, when showing two-level tunneling states (Low Temp. Phys. 35, 282 (2009)). Researchers have long searched for any signature of the underlying “true” ergodic–nonergodic transition emerging at a certain thermodynamic instability temperature Te. Here, the relaxation timescale for glass-forming materials is analyzed within a self-consistent thermodynamic cluster description combined with the cluster percolation concept. Exploring the ergodic hypothesis, its violation is found near a crossover from the Gaussian to non-Gaussian (Poisson) cluster-volume fluctuations, describing the finite-size fractal-cluster distributions. The transformation of the compact-structure “ergodic” clusters into hole-like glassy nanoclusters is attributed to the critical-size thermal fluctuations. The ergodic–nonergodic phase diagram showing Te is predicted in the model-independent form through the glass fragility parameter known for organic and inorganic liquids and amorphous solids. In all cases the ergodic-instability temperature is located below and close to the glass transformation temperature, whereas the distance between the two characteristic temperatures decreases with growing the material fragility.

PACS: 61.41.+e Polymers, elastomers, and plastics;
PACS: 61.43.Fs Glasses;
PACS: 64.70.P– Glass transitions of specific systems.

Key words: glass forming materials, ergodic hypothesis, thermodynamic instability.