Aging kinetics of levoglucosan orientational glass as a rate dispersion process and consequences for the heterogeneous dynamics view
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Aging kinetics of a glass is currently modeled in terms of slowing of its α-relaxation dynamics, whose features are interpreted in terms of dynamic heterogeneity, i.e., formation and decay of spatially and temporally distinct nm-size regions. To test the merits of this view, we studied the calorimetric effects of aging an orientational glass of levoglucosan crystal in which such regions would not form in the same way as they form in liquids, and persist in structural glasses, because there is no liquid-like molecular diffusion in the crystal. By measuring the heat capacity, Cp, we determined the change in the enthalpy, H, and the entropy, S, during two aging-protocols: (a) keeping the samples isothermally at temperature, Ta, and measuring the changes after different aging times, ta, and (b) keeping the samples at different Tas and measuring the changes after the same ta. A model-free analysis of the data shows that as ta is increased (procedure (a)), H and S decrease according to a dispersive rate kinetics, and as Ta is increased (procedure (b)), H and S first increase, reach a local maximum at a certain Ta, and then decrease. Even though there is no translational diffusion to produce (liquid-like) free volume, and no translational-rotational decoupling, the aging features are indistinguishable from those of structural glasses. We also find that the Kohlrausch parameter, originally fitted to the glass-aging data, decreases with decrease in Ta, which is incompatible with the current use of the aging data for estimating the α-relaxation time. We argue that the vibrational state of a glass is naturally incompatible with its configurational state, and both change on aging until they are compatible, in the equilibrium liquid. So, dipolar fluctuations seen as the α-relaxation would not be the same motions that cause aging. We suggest that aging kinetics is intrinsically dispersive with its own characteristic rate constant and it does not yield the α-relaxation rate. In this view, thermodynamic and other properties define the fictive temperature; the real or imaginary components of a dynamic property do not define it. While particles' overall motions may still play a crucial role in (structural) glass physics, we conclude that translational diffusion alone is not a requirement for structure stabilization on aging of a kinetically frozen state.
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