Structural recovery in plastic crystals by time-resolved non-linear dielectric spectroscopy

Birte Riechers, Konrad Samwer, Ranko Richert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The dielectric relaxation of several different plastic crystals has been examined at high amplitudes of the ac electric fields, with the aim of exploring possible differences with respect to supercooled liquids. In all cases, the steady state high field loss spectrum appears to be widened, compared with its low field limit counterpart, whereas peak position and peak amplitude remain almost unchanged. This field induced change in the loss profile is explained on the basis of two distinct effects: an increased relaxation time due to reduced configurational entropy at high fields which affects the low frequency part of the spectrum, and accelerated dynamics at frequencies above the loss peak position resulting from the added energy that the sample absorbs from the external electric field. From the time-resolved assessment of the field induced changes in fictive temperatures at relatively high frequencies, we find that this structural recovery is slaved to the average rather than mode specific structural relaxation time. In other words, the very fast relaxation modes in the plastic crystal cannot adjust their fictive temperatures faster than the slower modes, the equivalent of time aging-time superposition. As a result, an explanation for this single fictive temperature must be consistent with positional order, i.e., translational motion or local density fluctuations do not govern the persistence time of local time constants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154504
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 21 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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