A microscopic look at the Johari-Goldstein relaxation in a hydrogenbonded glass-former
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Understanding the glass transition requires getting the picture of the dynamical processes that intervene in it. Glass-forming liquids show a characteristic decoupling of relaxation processes when they are cooled down towards the glassy state. The faster (ßJG) process is still under scrutiny, and its full explanation necessitates information at the microscopic scale. To this aim, nuclear ¿-resonance time-domain interferometry (TDI) has been utilized to investigate 5-methyl-2-hexanol, a hydrogen-bonded liquid with a pronounced ßJG process as measured by dielectric spectroscopy. TDI probes in fact the center-of-mass, molecular dynamics at scattering-vectors corresponding to both inter- and intra-molecular distances. Our measurements demonstrate that, in the undercooled liquid phase, the ßJG relaxation can be visualized as a spatially-restricted rearrangement of molecules within the cage of their closest neighbours accompanied by larger excursions which reach out at least the inter-molecular scale and are related to cage-breaking events. In-cage rattling and cage-breaking processes therefore coexist in the ßJG relaxation.
CitationCaporaletti, F. [et al.]. A microscopic look at the Johari-Goldstein relaxation in a hydrogenbonded glass-former. "Scientific reports", 4 Octubre 2019, vol. 9, p. 1-10.