Ergodicity breaking transition in a glassy soft sphere system at small but non-zero temperatures.
While the glass transition at non-zero temperature seems to be hard to access for experimental, theoretical, or simulation studies, jamming at zero temperature has been explored in great detail. It is a widely discussed question whether this athermal jamming transition is related to the glass transition. Motivated by the exploration of the energy landscape that has been successfully used to describe athermal jamming, we introduce a new method to determine whether the configuration space of a soft sphere system can be explored within a reasonable timescale or not, i.e., whether the system is ergodic or effectively non-ergodic. While in case of athermal jamming for a given random starting configuration only the local energy minimum is determined, we allow the thermally excited crossing of energy barriers. Interestingly, we observe that a transition exists where the system becomes effectively non-ergodic if the density is increased. In the limit of small but non-zero temperatures the density where the ergodicity breaking transition occurs approaches a value that is independent of temperature and below the transition density of athermal jamming. This confirms recent computer simulation studies where athermal jamming occurs deep inside the glass phase. In addition, with our method we determined the critical behavior of the ergodicity breaking transition and show that it is in the universality class of directed percolation. Therefore, our approach not only makes the transition from an ergodic to an effectively non-ergodic systems easily accessible and helps to reveal its universality class but also shows that it is fundamentally different from athermal jamming.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1705.04095