A common understanding of plastic deformation of metallic glasses (MGs) at room temperature is that such deformation occurs via the formation of runaway shear bands that usually lead to catastrophic failure of MGs. Here we demonstrate that inhomogeneous plastic flow at nanoscale can evolve in a well-controlled manner without further developing of shear bands. It is suggested that the sample undergoes an elasto-plastic transition in terms of quasi steady-state localized shearing. During this transition, embryonic shear localization (ESL) propagates with a very slow velocity of order of nm/s without the formation of a hot matured shear band. This finding further advances our understanding of the microscopic deformation process associated with the elasto-plastic transition and may shed light on the theoretical development of shear deformation in MGs.
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