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Unveiling the anatomy of mode-coupling theory

Ilian Pihlajamaa, Vincent E. Debets, Corentin C. L. Laudicina, Liesbeth M. C. Janssen

SciPost Phys. 15, 217 (2023) · published 29 November 2023


The mode-coupling theory of the glass transition (MCT) has been at the forefront of fundamental glass research for decades, yet the theory's underlying approximations remain obscure. Here we quantify and critically assess the effect of each MCT approximation separately. Using Brownian dynamics simulations, we compute the memory kernel predicted by MCT after each approximation in its derivation, and compare it with the exact one. We find that some often-criticized approximations are in fact very accurate, while the opposite is true for others, providing new guiding cues for further theory development.

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