The use of the isoconfigurational method has enabled one to determine the existence of particles with high and low dynamic propensity (tendency to be mobile) and particles with preferred directionality for motion (directional particles) in supercooled liquids. On the other hand, dynamical studies have shown that the relaxation of such systems evolves by means of rapid crossings between metabasins of the potential energy surface (a metabasin being a group of mutually similar, closely related structures which differ markedly from the ones belonging to other metabasins), as collectively relaxing units (d-clusters) take place. Here we determine the spatial arrangements of such particles in a model three dimensional glass-forming system. We show that both the highest and the lowest propensity particles form compact clusters, which are separated from each other by the high directionality particles. The particles of this interfacial region seem to behave as to help make room for the enhanced (expansion) movement of the high propensity cluster and to keep the local density constant. Finally, we also find that only the high propensity particles (but not the directional ones) exhibit a great tendency to take part in d-cluster events. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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