An equilibrated model glass-forming liquid is studied by mapping successive configurations produced by molecular dynamics simulation onto a time series of inherent structures (local minima in the potential energy). Using this "inherent dynamics" approach we find direct numerical evidence for the long held view that below a crossover temperature, Tx, the liquid's dynamics can be separated into (i) vibrations around inherent structures and (ii) transitions between inherent structures [M. Goldstein, J. Chem. Phys. 51, 3728 (1969)], i.e., the dynamics become "dominated" by the potential energy landscape. In agreement with previous proposals, we find that Tx is within the vicinity of the mode-coupling critical temperature Tc. We further find that near Tx, transitions between inherent structures occur via cooperative, stringlike rearrangements of groups of particles moving distances substantially smaller than the average interparticle distance.
|Tidsskrift||Journal of Chemical Physics|
|Status||Udgivet - 2000|