Encoding of memory in sheared amorphous solids

Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Jan 17;112(2):025702. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.025702. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


We show that memory can be encoded in a model amorphous solid subjected to athermal oscillatory shear deformations, and in an analogous spin model with disordered interactions, sharing the feature of a deformable energy landscape. When these systems are subjected to oscillatory shear deformation, they retain memory of the deformation amplitude imposed in the training phase, when the amplitude is below a "localization" threshold. Remarkably, multiple persistent memories can be stored using such an athermal, noise-free, protocol. The possibility of such memory is shown to be linked to the presence of plastic deformations and associated limit cycles traversed by the system, which exhibit avalanche statistics also seen in related contexts.