Non-local cooperative atomic motions that govern dissipation in amorphous tantala unveiled by dynamical mechanical spectroscopy

F Puosi and F Fidecaro and S Capaccioli and D Pisignano and D Leporini, ACTA MATERIALIA, 201, 1-6 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2020.09.054

The mechanisms governing mechanical dissipation in amorphous tantala are studied at microscopic scale via Molecular Dynamics simulations, namely by mechanical spectroscopy in a wide range of temperature and frequency. We find that dissipation is associated with irreversible atomic rearrangements with a sharp cooperative character, involving tens to hundreds of atoms arranged in spatially extended clusters of polyhedra. Remarkably, at low temperature we observe an excess of plastically rearranging oxygen atoms which correlates with the experimental peak in the macroscopic mechanical losses. A detailed structural analysis reveals preferential connections of the irreversibly rearranging polyhedra, corresponding to edge and face sharing. These results might lead to microscopically informed design rules for reducing mechanical losses in relevant materials for structural, optical, and sensing applications. (C) 2020 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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