2018 journal article
Approach to local thermodynamic equilibrium and the evolution to a glassy core following neutron/ion radiation impact
PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 98(29), 2701–2722.
Using molecular dynamics simulations and statistical-mechanical metrics, we make quantitative predictions on the local thermodynamic and dynamic states following an ion or neutron impact in three materials – copper, silicon and solid argon. Through a two-energy distribution, we first capture the non-equilibrium temperature evolution and the approach to the local thermal equilibrium in three generic stages. By examining the time-resolved van Hove self-correlator, we then demonstrate that the impact core of all the three materials shows the dynamic characteristics of a jammed or glassy state. We delineate a dynamic atom-hopping mechanism that attests to a rapid defect recovery stage in copper; silicon, on the contrary, accommodates only small displacements which resist recovery. The dissimilitude between copper with a close-packed structure and silicon with an open network structure is further drawn out through an isoconfigurational analysis of displacements, which shows a compact dendritic-like condensation front for the mobile atoms in copper through atom hopping. In contrast, silicon portrays larger-scale spatial oscillations of dynamically separated regions, which appear to be a precursor to dynamic lattice instability and eventual amorphisation.