Bond-orientational order in liquids and glasses

Paul J. Steinhardt, David R. Nelson, Marco Ronchetti

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2853 Scopus citations


Bond-orientational order in molecular-dynamics simulations of supercooled liquids and in models of metallic glasses is studied. Quadratic and third-order invariants formed from bond spherical harmonics allow quantitative measures of cluster symmetries in these systems. A state with short-range translational order, but extended correlations in the orientations of particle clusters, starts to develop about 10% below the equilibrium melting temperature in a supercooled Lennard-Jones liquid. The order is predominantly icosahedral, although there is also a cubic component which we attribute to the periodic boundary conditions. Results are obtained for liquids cooled in an icosahedral pair potential as well. Only a modest amount of orientational order appears in a relaxed Finney dense-random-packing model. In contrast, we find essentially perfect icosahedral bond correlations in alternative "amorphon" cluster models of glass structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-805
Number of pages22
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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