Phase field crystal modeling as a unified atomistic approach to defect dynamics

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Berry, Joel
Provatas, Nikolas
Rottler, Jörg
Sinclair, Chad W.
Name of Publication
Physical Review B

Material properties controlled by evolving defect structures, such as mechanical response, often involve processes spanning many length and time scales which can not be modeled using a single approach. We present a variety of results that demonstrate the ability of phase field crystal ({PFC}) models to describe complex defect evolution phenomena on atomistic length scales and over long, diffusive time scales. Primary emphasis is given to the unification of conservative and nonconservative dislocation creation mechanisms in three-dimensional fcc and bcc materials. These include Frank-Read–type glide mechanisms involving closed dislocation loops or grain boundaries as well as Bardeen-Herring–type climb mechanisms involving precipitates, inclusions, and/or voids. Both source classes are naturally and simultaneously captured at the atomistic level by {PFC} descriptions, with arbitrarily complex defect configurations, types, and environments. An unexpected dipole-to-quadrupole source transformation is identified, as well as various complex geometrical features of loop nucleation via climb from spherical particles. Results for the strain required to nucleate a dislocation loop from such a particle are in agreement with analytic continuum theories. Other basic features of fcc and bcc dislocation structure and dynamics are also outlined, and initial results for dislocation-stacking fault tetrahedron interactions are presented. These findings together highlight various capabilities of the {PFC} approach as a coarse-grained atomistic tool for the study of three-dimensional crystal plasticity.