Properties of cage rearrangements observed near the colloidal glass transition

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We use confocal microscopy to study particle motion in colloidal systems. Near the glass transition, motion is inhibited, as particles spend time trapped in transient "cages" formed by neighboring particles. We measure the cage sizes and lifetimes, which, respectively, shrink and grow as the glass transition approaches. Cage rearrangements are more prevalent in regions with lower concentrations and higher disorder. Neighboring rearranging particles typically move in parallel directions, although a nontrivial fraction moves in antiparallel directions, usually from particle pairs with initial separations corresponding to local maxima and minima of the pair correlation function g(r), respectively.


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Last updated on 03/20/2014