Possible origin of beta-relaxation in amorphous metal alloys from atomic-mass differences of the constituents

BY Cui and Z Evenson and BB Fan and MZ Li and WH Wang and A Zaccone, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 98, 144201 (2018).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.98.144201

We employ an atomic-scale theory within the framework of nonaffine lattice dynamics to uncover the origin of the Johari-Goldstein (JG) beta-relaxation in metallic glasses (MGs). Combining simulation and experimental data with our theoretical approach, we reveal that the large mass asymmetry between the elements in a La60Ni15Al25 MG leads to a clear separation in the respective relaxation timescales, giving strong evidence that JG relaxation is controlled by the lightest atomic species present. Moreover, we show that only qualitative features of the vibrational density of states determine the overall observed mechanical response of the glass, paving the way for a possible unified theory of secondary relaxations in glasses.

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