Johari-Goldstein relaxation far below Tg: Experimental evidence for the Gardner transition in structural glasses?.
Experimental evidence for the Gardner transition, theoretically predicted to arise deep in the glassy state of matter, is scarce. At this transition, the energy landscape sensed by the particles forming the glass is expected to become more complex. In the present work, we report the dielectric response of two typical glass formers with well-pronounced Johari-Goldstein beta relaxation following this response down to unprecedented low temperatures, far below the glass transition. As the Johari-Goldstein process is believed to arise from the local structure of the energy landscape, its investigation seems an ideal tool to seek evidence for the Gardner transition. Indeed, we find an unusual broadening of the beta relaxation below TG ~ 110 K for sorbitol and TG ~ 100 K for xylitol, in excess of the expected broadening arising from a distribution of energy barriers. Thus, these results provide hints at the presence of the Gardner transition in canonical structural glass formers.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.00816
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