Correlated Rearrangements of Disordered Colloidal Suspensions in the Vicinity of the Reentrant Glass Transition

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We experimentally investigate correlated rearrangements (dynamic heterogeneity) in disordered colloidal suspensions as a function of increasing inter-particle attraction strength across the reentrant glass transition. Attractive interactions between constituent spheres are induced by polymer depletion forces at fixed particle volume fraction. We vary sample interparticle attraction strength and concurrently measure particle trajectories by confocal microscopy at each attraction strength. The reentrant transition from repulsive glass to ergodic fluid and from ergodic fluid to attractive glass is readily observed. As the inter-particle attraction increases, we find that inter-particle bonding causes an increasing number of particles to undergo cooperative or correlated displacements; the length scale associated with these correlated rearrangements exhibits reentrant behavior. Other dynamical quantities such as the mean square displacement, the longtime diffusion constant, and the non-Gaussian parameter also exhibit changes as a function of attraction strength. Notably, the arrested (glass) states show small particle displacements at long lag times, whereas the fluid states exhibit fast dynamics over large length scales. Copyright (C) EPLA, 2016

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