Impact of spatial dimension on structural ordering in metallic glass

YC Hu and H Tanaka and WH Wang, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 96, 022613 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.96.022613

Metallic glasses (MGs) have so far attracted considerable attention for their applications as bulk materials. However, new physics and applications often emerge by dimensional reduction from three dimensions (3D) to two dimensions (2D). Here, we study, by molecular dynamics simulations, how the liquid-to-glass transition of a binary Cu50Zr50 MG is affected by spatial dimensionality. We find clear evidence that crystal-like structural ordering controls both dynamic heterogeneity and slow dynamics, and thus plays a crucial role in the formation of the 2DMG. Although the 2DMG reproduces the dynamical behaviors of its 3D counterpart by considering Mermin-Wagner-type fluctuations specific to 2D, this atomic-scale structural mechanism is essentially different from that for the 3DMG in which icosahedral clusters incompatible with crystallographic symmetry play a key role in glassy behaviors. Our finding provides a structural mechanism for the formation of 2DMGs, which cannot be inferred from the knowledge of 3DMGs. The results suggest a structural basis for the glass transition in 2DMG and provide possible explanations for some previous experimental observations in ultrathin film MGs.

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