Glassy Dynamics and Identity Crises in Hard Particle Systems
The physics of glassy behavior is relevant in systems ranging from superconductors to sand. Despite this ubiquity, the thermodynamics underlying the slow kinetics of glass formation remain frustratingly murky. Our project will shed light on the physics of glass formation by examining the role that entropy plays during vitrification. In particular, we will examine the glassy behavior of faceted hard particle systems. We hypothesize that directional entropic forces between faceted hard particles emerge and induce the formation of a variety of incommensurate locally dense motifs. The hard particle fluid then experiences a structural identity crisis, leading to dynamic arrest and glassy behavior. We will use our scalable in-house Monte Carlo software to test our hypothesis by simulating various glass-forming hard particle systems and identifying locally dense motifs.