Using mutual information to measure order in model glass formers
Whether or not there is growing static order accompanying the dynamical heterogeneity and increasing relaxation times seen in glassy systems is a matter of dispute. An obstacle to resolving this issue is that the order is expected to be amorphous and so not amenable to simple order parameters. We use mutual information to provide a general measurement of order that is sensitive to multiparticle correlations. We apply this to two glass-forming systems (two-dimensional binary mixtures of hard disks with different size ratios to give varying amounts of hexatic order) and show that there is little growth of amorphous order in the system without crystalline order. In both cases we measure the dynamical length with a four-point correlation function and find that it increases significantly faster than the static lengths in the system as density is increased. We further show that we can recover the known scaling of the dynamic correlation length in a kinetically constrained model, the two-vacancy-assisted-hopping triangular lattice gas.