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Glass–glass transition during aging of a colloidal clay

Nature Communications volume 5, Article number: 4049 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

Colloidal suspensions are characterized by a variety of microscopic interactions, which generate unconventional phase diagrams encompassing fluid, gel and glassy states and offer the possibility to study new phase and/or state transitions. Among these, glass–glass transitions are rare to be found, especially at ambient conditions. Here, through a combination of dilution experiments, X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy, small angle X-ray scattering, rheological measurements and Monte Carlo simulations, we provide evidence of a spontaneous glass–glass transition in a colloidal clay. Two different glassy states are distinguished with evolving waiting time: a first one, dominated by long-range screened Coulombic repulsion (Wigner glass) and a second one, stabilized by orientational attractions (Disconnected House of Cards glass), occurring after a much longer time. These findings may have implications for heterogeneously charged systems out-of-equilibrium and for applications where a fine control of the local order and/or long term stability of the amorphous materials are required.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility for provision of beamtime and G. De Bellis from CNIS-Sapienza for assistance during rheological measurements and F. Sciortino for comments on the manuscript. R.A. and E.Z. acknowledge support from MIUR-PRIN. E.Z. acknowledges support from MIUR-FIRB ANISOFT (RBFR125H0M).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. IPCF-CNR, UOS Roma, P.le Aldo Moro 2, I-00185 Roma, Italy

    • Roberta Angelini
    •  & Barbara Ruzicka
  2. Dipartimento di Fisica, Sapienza Università di Roma, P.le Aldo Moro 2, I-00185 Roma, Italy

    • Roberta Angelini
    • , Emanuela Zaccarelli
    • , Giancarlo Ruocco
    •  & Barbara Ruzicka
  3. ISC-CNR, UOS Sapienza, P.le Aldo Moro 2, I-00185 Roma, Italy

    • Emanuela Zaccarelli
  4. Center for Life NanoScience, IIT@Sapienza, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Regina Elena 291, 00161 Roma, Italy

    • Flavio Augusto de Melo Marques
    •  & Giancarlo Ruocco
  5. ESRF-The European Synchrotron, CS40220, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

    • Michael Sztucki
  6. Brookhaven National Laboratory, NSLS-II, Upton, New York 11973, USA

    • Andrei Fluerasu

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Contributions

R.A. and B.R. carried out experiments, analysed the data, discussed the results and wrote the manuscript. E.Z. did the modelling and numerical simulations, discussed the results and wrote the manuscript. F.A.d.M.M. prepared the samples and carried out experiments. M.S. and A.F. gave technical support respectively for SAXS and XPCS experiments. G.R. discussed the results and provided suggestions and comments.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Roberta Angelini or Barbara Ruzicka.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5049

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