Transverse discrete breathers in unstrained graphene

E Barani and IP Lobzenko and EA Korznikova and EG Soboleva and SV Dmitriev and K Zhou and AM Marjaneh, EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL B, 90, 38 (2017).

DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2017-70751-2

Discrete breathers (DB) are spatially localized vibrational modes of large amplitude in defect-free nonlinear lattices. The search for DBs in graphene is of high importance, taking into account that this one atom thick layer of carbon is promising for a number of applications. There exist several reports on successful excitation of DBs in graphene, based on molecular dynamics and ab initio simulations. In a recent work by Hizhnyakov with co-authors the possibility to excite a DB with atoms oscillating normal to the graphene sheet has been reported. In the present study we use a systematic approach for finding initial conditions to excite transverse DBs in graphene. The approach is based on the analysis of the frequency-amplitude dependence for a delocalized, short-wavelength vibrational mode. This mode is a symmetry-dictated exact solution to the dynamic equations of the atomic motion, regardless the mode amplitude and regardless the type of interatomic potentials used in the simulations. It is demonstrated that if the AIREBO potential is used, the mode frequency increases with the amplitude bifurcating from the upper edge of the phonon spectrum for out-of-plane phonons. Then a bell-shaped function is superimposed on this delocalized mode to obtain a spatially localized vibrational mode, i.e., a DB. Placing the center of the bell-shaped function at different positions with respect to the lattice sites, three different DBs are found. Typically, the degree of spatial localization of DBs increases with the DB amplitude, but the transverse DBs in graphene reported here demonstrate the opposite trend. The results are compared to those obtained with the use of the Savin interatomic potential and no transverse DBs are found in this case. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the nonlinear dynamics of graphene and they call for the ab initio simulations to verify which of the two potentials used in this study is more precise.

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