Does a Growing Static Length Scale Control the Glass Transition?

Wyart, Matthieu ; Cates, Michael Elmhirst (2017-11-09)


Several theories of the glass transition propose that the structural relaxation time is controlled by a growing static length scale that is determined by the free energy landscape but not by the local dynamical rules governing its exploration. We argue, based on recent simulations using particle-radius-swap dynamics, that only a modest factor in the increase in relaxation time on approach to the glass transition may stem from the growth of a static length, with a vastly larger contribution attributable instead to a slowdown of local dynamics. This reinforces arguments that we base on the observed strong coupling of particle diffusion and density fluctuations in real glasses.