Nucleation and Growth of the Supercooled Liquid Phase Control Glass Transition in Bulk Ultrastable Glasses

A. Vila-Costa, J. Ràfols-Ribé, M. González-Silveira, A. F. Lopeandia, Ll Abad-Muñoz, J. Rodríguez-Viejo

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the anomalous bulk transformation of vapor deposited stable glasses into the liquid state. The transformation proceeds through two competing parallel processes: partial rejuvenation of the stable glass and nucleation and growth of liquid patches within the glass. The kinetics of the transformation extracted from heat capacity curves after isothermal runs is dominated by the heterogeneous nucleation and growth process that initiates at preexisting seeds and propagates radially at a velocity proportional to the alpha relaxation time. Remarkably, the distance between the activation seeds is independent of temperature within experimental uncertainty and amounts to several micrometers, a value in close agreement with the crossover length for TPD glasses. We speculate the initiation sites for the transformation of the glass into the supercooled liquid are localized regions of lower stability (or density).
Original languageEnglish
Article number076002
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume124
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2020

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