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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. Leary, James F. ; Tarnok, Attila ; Houston, Jessica P. (Ed.)
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 4, 2023
  3. Molecular, polymeric, colloidal, and other classes of liquids can exhibit very large, spatially heterogeneous alterations of their dynamics and glass transition temperature when confined to nanoscale domains. Considerable progress has been made in understanding the related problem of near-interface relaxation and diffusion in thick films. However, the origin of “nanoconfinement effects” on the glassy dynamics of thin films, where gradients from different interfaces interact and genuine collective finite size effects may emerge, remains a longstanding open question. Here, we combine molecular dynamics simulations, probing 5 decades of relaxation, and the Elastically Cooperative Nonlinear Langevin Equation (ECNLE) theory, addressing 14 decades in timescale, to establish a microscopic and mechanistic understanding of the key features of altered dynamics in freestanding films spanning the full range from ultrathin to thick films. Simulations and theory are in qualitative and near-quantitative agreement without use of any adjustable parameters. For films of intermediate thickness, the dynamical behavior is well predicted to leading order using a simple linear superposition of thick-film exponential barrier gradients, including a remarkable suppression and flattening of various dynamical gradients in thin films. However, in sufficiently thin films the superposition approximation breaks down due to the emergence of genuine finite size confinement effects.more »ECNLE theory extended to treat thin films captures the phenomenology found in simulation, without invocation of any critical-like phenomena, on the basis of interface-nucleated gradients of local caging constraints, combined with interfacial and finite size-induced alterations of the collective elastic component of the structural relaxation process.

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  4. Abstract We measured high-quality surface brightness fluctuation (SBF) distances for a sample of 63 massive early-type galaxies using the WFC3/IR camera on the Hubble Space Telescope. The median uncertainty on the SBF distance measurements is 0.085 mag, or 3.9% in distance. Achieving this precision at distances of 50–100 Mpc required significant improvements to the SBF calibration and data analysis procedures for WFC3/IR data. Forty-two of the galaxies are from the MASSIVE Galaxy Survey, a complete sample of massive galaxies within ∼100 Mpc; the SBF distances for these will be used to improve the estimates of the stellar and central supermassive black hole masses in these galaxies. Twenty-four of the galaxies are Type Ia supernova hosts, useful for calibrating SN Ia distances for early-type galaxies and exploring possible systematic trends in the peak luminosities. Our results demonstrate that the SBF method is a powerful and versatile technique for measuring distances to galaxies with evolved stellar populations out to 100 Mpc and constraining the local value of the Hubble constant.