Relationship between neighbor number and vibrational spectra in disordered colloidal clusters with attractive interactions

Yunker, Peter J.; Zhang, Zexin; Gratale, Matthew; Chen, Ke; Yodh, A. G.
March 2013
Journal of Chemical Physics;Mar2013, Vol. 138 Issue 12, p12A525
Academic Journal
We study connections between vibrational spectra and average nearest neighbor number in disordered clusters of colloidal particles with attractive interactions. Measurements of displacement covariances between particles in each cluster permit calculation of the stiffness matrix, which contains effective spring constants linking pairs of particles. From the cluster stiffness matrix, we derive vibrational properties of corresponding 'shadow' glassy clusters, with the same geometric configuration and interactions as the 'source' cluster but without damping. Here, we investigate the stiffness matrix to elucidate the origin of the correlations between the median frequency of cluster vibrational modes and average number of nearest neighbors in the cluster. We find that the mean confining stiffness of particles in a cluster, i.e., the ensemble-averaged sum of nearest neighbor spring constants, correlates strongly with average nearest neighbor number, and even more strongly with median frequency. Further, we find that the average oscillation frequency of an individual particle is set by the total stiffness of its nearest neighbor bonds; this average frequency increases as the square root of the nearest neighbor bond stiffness, in a manner similar to the simple harmonic oscillator.


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