Acoustic interactions between inversion symmetric and asymmetric two-level systems

A. Churkin, D. Barash, M. Schechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Amorphous solids, as well as many disordered lattices, display remarkable universality in their low temperature acoustic properties. This universality is attributed to the attenuation of phonons by tunneling two-level systems (TLSs), facilitated by the interaction of the TLSs with the phonon field. TLS-phonon interaction also mediates effective TLS-TLS interactions, which dictates the existence of a glassy phase and its low energy properties. Here we consider KBr:CN, the archetypal disordered lattice showing universality. We calculate numerically, using conjugate gradients method, the effective TLS-TLS interactions for inversion symmetric (CN flips) and asymmetric (CN rotations) TLSs, in the absence and presence of disorder, in two and three dimensions. The observed dependence of the magnitude and spatial power law of the interaction on TLS symmetry, and its change with disorder, characterizes TLS-TLS interactions in disordered lattices in both extreme and moderate dilutions. Our results are in good agreement with the two-TLS model, recently introduced to explain long-standing questions regarding the quantitative universality of phonon attenuation and the energy scale of≈1-3K below which universality is observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number325401
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number32
StatePublished - 13 Aug 2014


  • KBr:CN
  • disordered lattices
  • glasses
  • impurity interactions
  • two-level systems
  • universality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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