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Assessing the role of static length scales behind glassy dynamics in polydisperse hard disks

Russo, John, Tanaka, Hajime
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 v.112 no.22 pp. 6920-6924
freezing, glass, glass transition, physics
The possible role of growing static order in the dynamical slowing down toward the glass transition has recently attracted considerable attention. On the basis of random first-order transition theory, a new method to measure the static correlation length of amorphous order, called “point-to-set” (PTS) length, has been proposed and used to show that the dynamic length grows much faster than the static length. Here, we study the nature of the PTS length, using a polydisperse hard-disk system, which is a model that is known to exhibit a growing hexatic order upon densification. We show that the PTS correlation length is decoupled from the steeper increase of the correlation length of hexatic order and dynamic heterogeneity, while closely mirroring the decay length of two-body density correlations. Our results thus provide a clear example that other forms of order can play an important role in the slowing down of the dynamics, casting a serious doubt on the order-agnostic nature of the PTS length and its relevance to slow dynamics, provided that a polydisperse hard-disk system is a typical glass former.