Inhomogeneous elastic response of silica glass

F Leonforte and A Tanguy and JP Wittmer and JL Barrat, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 97, 055501 (2006).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.97.055501

Using large scale molecular dynamics simulations we investigate the properties of the nonaffine displacement field induced by macroscopic uniaxial deformation of amorphous silica, a strong glass according to Angell's classification. We demonstrate the existence of a length scale xi characterizing the correlations of this field (corresponding to a volume of about 1000 atoms), and compare its structure to the one observed in a standard fragile model glass. The "boson-peak" anomaly of the density of states can be traced back in both cases to elastic inhomogeneities on wavelengths smaller than xi where classical continuum elasticity becomes simply unapplicable.

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