Long-wavelength fluctuations and static correlations in quasi-2D colloidal suspensions
Dimensionality strongly affects thermal fluctuations and critical dynamics of equilibrium systems. These influences persist in amorphous systems going through the nonequilibrium glass transition. Here, we experimentally study the glass transition of quasi-2D suspensions of spherical and ellipsoidal particles under different degrees of circular confinement. We show that the strength of the long-wavelength fluctuations increases logarithmically with system sizes and displays the signature of the Mermin–Wagner fluctuations. Moreover, using confinement as a tool, we also measure static structural correlations and extract a growing static correlation length in 2D supercooled liquids. Finally, we explore the influence of the Mermin–Wagner fluctuations on the translational and orientational relaxations of 2D ellipsoidal suspensions, which leads to a new interpretation of the two-step glass transition and the orientational glass phase of anisotropic particles. Our study reveals the importance of long-wavelength fluctuations in 2D supercooled liquids and provides new insights into the role of dimensionality in the glass transition.