The attenuation of long-wavelength phonons due to their interaction with electronic excitations in disordered systems is investigated here. Lattice strain couples to electronic stress, and thus ultrasonic attenuation measures electronic viscosity. The enhancement and critical divergence of electronic viscosity due to localization effects is calculated for the first time. Experimental consequences for the anomalous increase of ultrasonic attenuation in disordered metals close to the metal-insulator transition are discussed. In the localized regime, the appropriate model is one of electronic two-level systems (TLSs) coupled to phonons. The TLS consists of a pair of states with one localized state occupied and the other unoccupied. The density of such low-excitation-energy TLSs is nonzero due to long-range Coulomb interactions. The question of whether these could be significant low-energy excitations in glasses is touched upon.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics