Irradiation-induced topological transition in SiO2: Structural signature of networks' rigidity

B Wang and NMA Krishnan and YT Yu and MY Wang and Y Le Pape and G Sant and M Bauchy, JOURNAL OF NON-CRYSTALLINE SOLIDS, 463, 25-30 (2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2017.02.017

By affecting the connectivity of atomic networks, composition, temperature, or pressure can induce topological transitions between the three atomic states of rigidity flexible, isostatic, and stressed-rigid. However, no clear structural signature of such transitions has been elucidated thus far. Here, based on realistic molecular dynamics simulations of irradiation-induced damage in quartz, we report the first evidence of a rigid-to-flexible rigidity transition controlled by structural variations only. This topological transition is shown to arise from the simultaneous loss of atomic Eigenstress and onset of network flexibility, and features a well-defined structural signature in the medium-range order of the atomic network. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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