PerspectiveMaterials Science

Movies of the Glass Transition

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Science  28 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5453, pp. 604-605
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5453.604

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The phenomenology of glass formation has been known for decades, but important questions regarding the heterogeneity and cooperativity of molecular dynamics in glasses have remained inaccessible to experiments. Weeks et al. (page 627) and Kegel and van Blaaderen (14 January 2000, page 290) have performed imaging studies of a model glass-forming system consisting of colloidal spheres suspended in a solvent. The unprecedented detail of these data may help to resolve the primary issue regarding the glass transition, namely the cause of the slow dynamics.