Compressed nano-pillars crackle from moving dislocations, which reduces plastic stability. Crackling noise is characterized by stress drops or strain bursts, which scale over a large region of sizes leading to power law statistics. Here we report that this “classic” behaviour is not valid in Ti-based nanopillars for a counterintuitive reason: we tailor precipitates inside the nano-pillar, which “regulate” the flux of dislocations. It is not because the nano-pillars become too small to sustain large dislocation movements, the effect is hence independent of size. Our precipitates act as “rotors”: local stress initiates the rotation of inclusions, which reduces the stress amplitudes dramatically. The size distribution of stress drops simultaneously changes from power law to exponential. Rotors act like revolving doors limiting the number of passing dislocations. Hence each collapse becomes weak. We present experimental evidence for Ti-based nano-pillars (diameters between 300 nm and 2 μm) with power law distributions of crackling noise P(s) ∼ s −τ with τ ∼ 2 in the defect free or non-rotatable precipitate states. Rotors change the size distribution to P(s) ∼ exp(−s/s 0 ). Rotors are inclusions of ω-phase that aligns under stress along slip planes and limit dislocation glide to small distances with high nucleation rates. This opens new ways to make nano-pillars more stable.
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