Glass Dynamics Deep in the Energy Landscape

Mark D. Ediger, Martin Gruebele, Vassiliy Lubchenko, Peter G. Wolynes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


When a liquid is cooled, progress down the energy landscape is arrested near the glass transition temperature Tg. In principle, lower energy states can be accessed by waiting for further equilibration, but the rough energy landscape of glasses quickly leads to kinetics on geologically slow time scales below Tg. Over the past decade, progress has been made probing deeper into the energy landscape via several techniques. By looking at bulk and surface diffusion, using layered deposition that promotes equilibration, imaging glass surfaces with faster dynamics below Tg, and optically exciting glasses, experiments have moved into a regime of ultrastable, low energy glasses that was difficult to access in the past. At the same time, both simulations and energy landscape theory based on a random first order transition (RFOT) have tackled systems that include surfaces, optical excitation, and interfacial dynamics. Here we review some of the recent experimental work, and how energy landscape theory illuminates glassy dynamics well below the glass transition temperature by making direct connections between configurational entropy, energy landscape barriers, and the resulting dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9052-9068
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 19 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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