Nonlinear dielectric response in glasses: restoring forces and avoided spin-glass criticality

Eric Bertin, François Ladieu
Condensed Matter, Disordered Systems and Neural Networks, Disordered Systems and Neural Networks (cond-mat.dis-nn), Statistical Mechanics (cond-mat.stat-mech)
2023-12-07 00:00:00
Experimental measurements of nonlinear dielectric response in glassformers like supercooled glycerol or propylene carbonate have been interpreted as providing evidence for a growing thermodynamic length scale when lowering temperature. A heuristic picture based on coherently flipping `superdipoles' with disordered internal structure has been argued to capture the essence of the experimentally reported behavior, pointing to the key role of effectively disordered interactions in structural glasses. We test these ideas by devising an explicit one-dimensional model of interacting spins incorporating both the spin-glass spirit of the superdipole argument, and the necessary long-time decorrelation of structural disorder, encoded here in a slow dynamics of the coupling constants. The frequency-dependent third-order response of the model qualitatively reproduces the typical humped shape reported in experiments. The temperature dependence of the maximum value is also qualitatively reproduced. In contrast, the humped shape of the third-order response is not reproduced by a simple kinetically constrained spin model with non-interacting spins. To rationalize these results, we propose a two-length-scale scenario by distinguishing between the characteristic length of dynamical heterogeneities and a coherence length that monitors the effect of interactions. We show that both length scales are identical in the kinetically constrained spin model, while they have significantly different dynamics in the model of interacting spins.
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