Two-step glass transition induced by attractive interactions in quasi-two-dimensional suspensions of ellipsoidal particles

Phys Rev Lett. 2013 May 3;110(18):188301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.188301. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


We study experimentally the glass transition dynamics in quasi-two-dimensional suspensions of colloidal ellipsoids, aspect ratio α=2.1, with repulsive as well as attractive interactions. For the purely repulsive case, we find that the orientational and translational glass transitions occur at the same area fraction. Strikingly, for intermediate depletion attraction strengths, we find that the orientational glass transition precedes the translational one. By quantifying structure and dynamics, we show that quasi-long-range ordering is promoted at these attraction strengths, which subsequently results in a two-step glass transition. Most interestingly, within experimental certainty, we observe reentrant glass dynamics only in the translational degrees of freedom.