Disentangling defects and sound modes in disordered solids†
We develop a new method to isolate localized defects from extended vibrational modes in disordered solids. This method augments particle interactions with an artificial potential that acts as a high-pass filter: it preserves small-scale structures while pushing extended vibrational modes to higher frequencies. The low-frequency modes that remain are “bare” defects; they are exponentially localized without the quadrupolar tails associated with elastic interactions. We demonstrate that these localized excitations are excellent predictors of plastic rearrangements in the solid. We characterize several of the properties of these defects that appear in mesoscopic theory of plasticity, including their distribution of energy barriers, number density, and size, which is a first step in testing and revising continuum models for plasticity in disordered solids.