The combination of amorphous layers with crystalline layers showed extraordinary high toughness, i.e. ultra-high strength in conjunction with high elongation-to-failure. The plastic deformation, moreover, is confined by the crystalline-amorphous interface, which additionally has to maintain deformation compatibility to mediate homogeneous plastic flow.
In nanocrystalline metals molecular dynamics (MD) simulation showed huge varieties of ordered fine structures in the interface, which can be related to the observed dislocation mediated deformation mechanism in the vicinity of the interface structure. Contrary to crystalline-crystalline interfaces, where crystalline phases exhibit long range order, the amorphous structure is characterized by a lack of long-range order. Using MD methods the compensation mechanism of the lacking long-range order at the interface is studied for metallic systems. The observed structural features are discussed in terms of dislocation-based deformation mechanisms such as dislocation transmission, nucleation, and absorption.