Predicting plasticity with soft vibrational modes: From dislocations to glasses

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Rottler, Jörg
Schoenholz, Samuel S.
Liu, Andrea J.
Name of Publication
Physical Review E

We show that quasilocalized low-frequency modes in the vibrational spectrum can be used to construct soft spots, or regions vulnerable to rearrangement, which serve as a universal tool for the identification of flow defects in solids. We show that soft spots not only encode spatial information, via their location, but also directional information, via directors for particles within each soft spot. Single crystals with isolated dislocations exhibit low-frequency phonon modes that localize at the core, and their polarization pattern predicts the motion of atoms during elementary dislocation glide in two and three dimensions in exquisite detail. Even in polycrystals and disordered solids, we find that the directors associated with particles in soft spots are highly correlated with the direction of particle displacements in rearrangements.