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We investigate correlations between low-frequency vibrational modes and rearrangements in two-dimensional colloidal glasses composed of thermosensitive microgel particles, which readily permit variation of the sample packing fraction. At each packing fraction, the particle displacement covariance matrix is measured and used to extract the vibrational spectrum of the "shadow" colloidal glass (i.e., the particle network with the same geometry and interactions as the sample colloid but absent damping). Rearrangements are induced by successive, small reductions in the packing fraction. The experimental results suggest that low-frequency quasilocalized phonon modes in colloidal glasses, i.e., modes that present low energy barriers for system rearrangements, are spatially correlated with rearrangements in this thermal system.
Date Posted: 20 January 2012
This document has been peer reviewed.