We derive a microscopic criterion for the stability of hard sphere configurations and we show empirically that this criterion is marginally satisfied in the glass. This observation supports a geometric interpretation for the initial rapid rise in viscosity with packing fraction or previtrification. It also implies that barely stable soft modes characterize the glass structure, whose spatial extension is estimated. We show that both the short-term dynamics and activation processes occur mostly along those soft modes and we study some implications of these observations. This article synthesizes new and previous results [C. Brito and M. Wyart, Europhys. Lett. 76, 149 (2006); C. Brito and M. Wyart, J. Stat. Mech.: Theory Exp. 2007, L08003] in a unified view.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry