Distribution of atomic rearrangement vectors in a metallic glass

A Annamareddy and B Wang and PM Voyles and D Morgan, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 132, 195103 (2022).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0125531

Short-timescale atomic rearrangements are fundamental to the kinetics of glasses and frequently dominated by one atom moving significantly (a rearrangement), while others relax only modestly. The rates and directions of such rearrangements (or hops) are dominated by the distributions of activation barriers (E-act) for rearrangement for a single atom and how those distributions vary across the atoms in the system. We have used molecular dynamics simulations of Cu50Zr50 metallic glass below T-g in an isoconfigurational ensemble to catalog the ensemble of rearrangements from thousands of sites. The majority of atoms are strongly caged by their neighbors, but a tiny fraction has a very high propensity for rearrangement, which leads to a power-law variation in the cage-breaking probability for the atoms in the model. In addition, atoms generally have multiple accessible rearrangement vectors, each with its own E-act. However, atoms with lower E-act (or higher rearrangement rates) generally explored fewer possible rearrangement vectors, as the low E-act path is explored far more than others. We discuss how our results influence future modeling efforts to predict the rearrangement vector of a hopping atom. Published under an exclusive license by AIP Publishing.

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