Mutual information reveals multiple structural relaxation mechanisms in a model glass former

Andrew J. Dunleavy, Karoline Wiesner, Ryoichi Yamamoto, C. Patrick Royall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
297 Downloads (Pure)


Among the key challenges to our understanding of solidification in the glass transition is that it is accompanied by little apparent change in structure. Recently, geometric motifs have been identified in glassy liquids, but a causal link between these motifs and solidification remains elusive. One 'smoking gun' for such a link would be identical scaling of structural and dynamic lengthscales on approaching the glass transition, but this is highly controversial. Here we introduce an information theoretic approach to determine correlations in displacement for particle relaxation encoded in the initial configuration of a glass-forming liquid. We uncover two populations of particles, one inclined to relax quickly, the other slowly. Each population is correlated with local density and geometric motifs. Our analysis further reveals a dynamic lengthscale similar to that associated with structural properties, which may resolve the discrepancy between structural and dynamic lengthscales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6089
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2015

Structured keywords

  • Jean Golding


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