Mode-coupling theory of the glass transition: A primer

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Understanding the physics of glass formation remains one of the major unsolved challenges of condensed matter science. As a material solidifies into a glass, it exhibits a spectacular slowdown of the dynamics upon cooling or compression, but at the same time undergoes only minute structural changes. Among the numerous theories put forward to rationalize this complex behavior, Mode-Coupling Theory (MCT) stands out as a unique framework that provides a fully first-principles-based description of glass phenomenology. This review outlines the key physical ingredients of MCT, its predictions, successes, and failures, as well as recent improvements of the theory. We also discuss the extension and application of MCT to the emerging field of non-equilibrium active soft matter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number097
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


  • Active matter
  • Amorphous solids
  • Colloids
  • Glass transition
  • Liquid structure
  • Mode-coupling theory
  • Molecular hydrodynamics
  • Supercooled liquids
  • liquid structure
  • molecular hydrodynamics
  • colloids
  • amorphous solids
  • supercooled liquids
  • mode-coupling theory
  • active matter
  • glass transition


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