Large-amplitude jumps and non-Gaussian dynamics in highly concentrated hard sphere fluids

Erica J. Saltzman, Kenneth S. Schweizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our microscopic stochastic nonlinear Langevin equation theory of activated dynamics has been employed to study the real-space van Hove function of dense hard sphere fluids and suspensions. At very short times, the van Hove function is a narrow Gaussian. At sufficiently high volume fractions, such that the entropic barrier to relaxation is greater than the thermal energy, its functional form evolves with time to include a rapidly decaying component at small displacements and a long-range exponential tail. The “ jumpâ€or decay length scale associated with the tail increases with time (or particle root-mean-square displacement) at fixed volume fraction, and with volume fraction at the mean α relaxation time. The jump length at the α relaxation time is predicted to be proportional to a measure of the decoupling of self-diffusion and structural relaxation. At long times corresponding to mean displacements of order a particle diameter, the volume fraction dependence of the decay length disappears. A good superposition of the exponential tail feature based on the jump length as a scaling variable is predicted at high volume fractions. Overall, the theoretical results are in good accord with recent simulations and experiments. The basic aspects of the theory are also compared with a classic jump model and a dynamically facilitated continuous time random-walk model. Decoupling of the time scales of different parts of the relaxation process predicted by the theory is qualitatively similar to facilitated dynamics models based on the concept of persistence and exchange times if the elementary event is assumed to be associated with transport on a length scale significantly smaller than the particle size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051504
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 23 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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