Title: Non-equilibrium Statistical Thermodynamic Theory of Arrested Spinodal Decomposition
Abstract: It has been determined by experiments and simulations that a ubiquitous route to the formation of physical gels involves the phase separation of homogeneous liquids after being quenched inside its thermodynamically unstable ‘spinodal’ region, and its eventual interruption by conditions of kinetic arrest. Understanding the fundamental basis of this process of arrested spinodal decomposition and its connection with the formation of (repulsive and attractive) glasses is a relevant challenge, which can only be faced from the perspective of a non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamic theory. In this seminar I briefly review the recently-proposed Non-equilibrium Self-consistent Generalized Langevin Equation (NE-SCGLE) theory of irreversible relaxation [Phys. Rev. E 82, 061503 (2010); 87, 052306 (2013)], and its application to the description of aging processes in glass-forming liquids. I then describe our recent advances in the application of the same theoretical framework to the description of the processes of arrested spinodal decomposition. Among the main features of the resulting scenario is the prediction that the spinodal curve, besides being the threshold of thermodynamic stability of homogeneous states, is also the borderline between the regions of ergodic and non-ergodic homogeneous states. The theory also predicts the existence of a glass-glass transition line buried inside the low-temperature part of the non-ergodic region, which is the continuation to the interior of the spinodal, of the “ordinary” liquid-glass transition line that extends to higher densities to connect with the hard-sphere glass transition.
Cm-Bio 4-23 Medina