Dynamical heterogeneity in aging colloidal glasses of Laponite

Sara Jabbari-Farouji 1, 2, Rojman Zargar 2, Gerard Wegdam 2, Daniel Bonn 3, 4

Soft Matter 8 (2012) 5507-5512

Glasses behave as solids due to their long relaxation time; however the origin of this slow response remains a puzzle. Growing dynamic length scales due to cooperative motion of particles are believed to be central to the understanding of both the slow dynamics and the emergence of rigidity. Here, we provide experimental evidence of a growing dynamical heterogeneity length scale that increases with increasing waiting time in an aging colloidal glass of Laponite. The signature of heterogeneity in the dynamics follows from dynamic light scattering measurements in which we study both the rotational and translational diffusion of the disk-shaped particles of Laponite in suspension. These measurements are accompanied by simultaneous microrheology and macroscopic rheology experiments. We find that rotational diffusion of particles slows down at a faster rate than their translational motion. Such decoupling of translational and orientational degrees of freedom finds its origin in the dynamic heterogeneity since rotation and translation probe different length scales in the sample. The macroscopic rheology experiments show that the low frequency shear viscosity increases at a much faster rate than both rotational and translational diffusive relaxation times.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud
  • 2. Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute,
    University of Amsterdam
  • 3. University of Amsterdam Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (VAN DER WAALS-ZEEMAN INSTITUTE),
    University of Amsterdam
  • 4. Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l'ENS (LPS),
    CNRS : UMR8550 – Université Paris VI - Pierre et Marie Curie – Université Paris VII - Paris Diderot – Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris