Dynamics of Glasses and Glass-Forming Liquids Studied by Inelastic X-ray Scattering

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Science  05 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5369, pp. 1550-1555
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5369.1550

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The development of inelastic x-ray scattering with millielectron volt energy resolution at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, provides a method for studying high-frequency collective dynamics in disordered systems. This has led to the observation of propagating acoustic phonon-like excitations in glasses and glass-forming liquids down to wavelengths comparable to the interparticle distance. Using the inelastic x-ray scattering results on glycerol as a representative example, it is shown that the microscopic dynamic properties are related to the excess of vibrational states in glasses and to the consequences at the microscopic level of the liquid-glass transition. Moreover, they allow derivation of the infinite frequency sound velocity, a quantity related to the structural relaxation times and to the change of ergodicity at the liquid-glass transition.

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