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Front. Phys. | doi: 10.3389/fphy.2018.00097

Mode-Coupling Theory of the Glass Transition: A Primer

  • 1Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

Understanding the physics of glass formation remains one of the major unsolved
challenges of condensed matter science. As a material solidifies into a glass,
it exhibits a spectacular slowdown of the dynamics upon cooling or compression,
but at the same time undergoes only minute structural changes. Among the
numerous theories put forward to rationalize this complex behavior,
Mode-Coupling Theory (MCT) stands out as a unique framework that provides a
fully first-principles-based description of glass phenomenology. This review
outlines the key physical ingredients of MCT, its predictions, successes, and
failures, as well as recent improvements of the theory. We also discuss the
extension and application of MCT to the emerging field of non-equilibrium
active soft matter.

Keywords: Mode-coupling theory, glass transition, molecular hydrodynamics, Liquid structure, Amorphous solids, supercooled liquids, Colloids, active matter

Received: 01 Jun 2018; Accepted: 17 Aug 2018.

Edited by:

Jennifer L. Ross, University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States

Reviewed by:

Ramon Castañeda-Priego, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico
J. M. Schwarz, Syracuse University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Janssen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Liesbeth M. Janssen, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands, L.M.C.Janssen@tue.nl