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Title: Glasses denser than the supercooled liquid

When aged below the glass transition temperature,Tg, the density of a glass cannot exceed that of the metastable supercooled liquid (SCL) state, unless crystals are nucleated. The only exception is when another polyamorphic SCL state exists, with a density higher than that of the ordinary SCL. Experimentally, such polyamorphic states and their corresponding liquid–liquid phase transitions have only been observed in network-forming systems or those with polymorphic crystalline states. In otherwise simple liquids, such phase transitions have not been observed, either in aged or vapor-deposited stable glasses, even near the Kauzmann temperature. Here, we report that the density of thin vapor-deposited films ofN,N′-bis(3-methylphenyl)-N,N′-diphenylbenzidine (TPD) can exceed their corresponding SCL density by as much as 3.5% and can even exceed the crystal density under certain deposition conditions. We identify a previously unidentified high-density supercooled liquid (HD-SCL) phase with a liquid–liquid phase transition temperature (TLL) ∼35 K below the nominal glass transition temperature of the ordinary SCL. The HD-SCL state is observed in glasses deposited in the thickness range of 25 to 55 nm, where thin films of the ordinary SCL have exceptionally enhanced surface mobility with large mobility gradients. The enhanced mobility enables vapor-deposited thin films to overcome kinetic barriers for relaxation and access the HD-SCL state. The HD-SCL state is only thermodynamically favored in thin films and transforms rapidly to the ordinary SCL when the vapor deposition is continued to form films with thicknesses more than 60 nm.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Article No. e2100738118
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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