Order in glassy systems
A directly measurable correlation length may be defined for systems having a two-step relaxation, based on the geometric properties of a density profile that remains after averaging out the fast motion. We argue that the length diverges if and when the slow timescale diverges, whatever the microscopic mechanism at the origin of the slowing down. Measuring the length amounts to determining explicitly the complexity from the observed particle configurations. One may compute in the same way the Renyi complexities K q ; their relative behavior for different q characterizes the mechanism underlying the transition. In particular, the 'random first order' scenario predicts that in the glass phase K q = 0 for q > x , and K q > 0 for , with x the Parisi parameter. The hypothesis of a nonequilibrium effective temperature may also be directly tested from configurations.