Dubinko V. I., Piazza F.
Letters on materials (2015) 4 (4) 273-278 - doi :
publié le , mis à jour le
A new mechanism of catalysis is discussed, which is based on the rate-promoting effect of large-amplitude anharmonic
lattice vibrations, a.k.a. intrinsic localized modes or ‘discrete breathers’ (DBs), which can excite atoms at specific ‘active sites’
rather strongly, giving them energy far exceeding the energy of thermal vibrations for hundreds of oscillation periods. The
DB-induced modulation of activation energies (free energy barriers between reactants and products) results in a drastic
amplification of the reaction rates, which can be described by a simple analytical expression in the adiabatic limit. The striking
site selectiveness of DB excitation dynamics in the presence of spatial (quenched) disorder makes these nonlinear vibrations
viable candidates to play the role of ‘active modes’ in the catalytic process in various physical, chemical and biological systems.