We numerically investigate the competition between phase separation and dynamical arrest in a colloidal system interacting via a short-ranged attractive potential. Equilibrium fluid configurations are quenched at two different temperatures below the critical temperature and followed during their time evolution. At the lowest studied T, the phase-separation process is interrupted by the formation of an attractive glass in the dense phase. At the higher T, no arrest is observed and the phase-separation process proceeds endlessly in the simulated time window. The final structure of the glass retains memory of the interrupted phase-separation process in the form of a frozen spinodal decomposition peak, whose location and amplitude is controlled by the average packing fraction. We also discuss the time evolution of the nonergodicity parameter, providing evidence of a progressively decreasing localization length on increasing the packing fraction. Finally, we confirm that the reported results are independent of the microscopic dynamics.
Arrested phase separation in a short-ranged attractive colloidal system: A numerical study / G., Foffi; DE MICHELE, Cristiano; Sciortino, Francesco; Tartaglia, Piero. - In: THE JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS. - ISSN 0021-9606. - STAMPA. - 122:(2005), pp. 224903-1-224903-12. [10.1063/1.1924704]