The Thermal Conductivity Plateau in Disordered Systems

  • B. Golding
  • J. E. Graebner
  • L. C. Allen
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Series in Solid-State Sciences book series (SSSOL, volume 68)


The thermal conductivity of disordered substances exhibits a region of weak temperature dependence known as the “plateau” [1]. It occurs in glasses in a temperature range typically between 1 and 20 K. At much lower temperatures, the thermal conductivity is governed by the resonant scattering of thermal phonons from tunneling systems and follows a T2 power law. Above the plateau the temperature dependence is roughly linear in T. Explanations offered for the occurrence of a plateau include: phonon scattering by enhanced densities of tunneling systems [2], elastic scattering by density fluctuations [3], dimensional crossover of the vibrational density of states [4], and weak localization of phonons [5]. As yet there has been no convincing description of this phenomenon.


Density Fluctuation Weak Localization Resonant Scattering Tunneling System Weak Temperature Dependence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Golding
    • 1
  • J. E. Graebner
    • 1
  • L. C. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.AT & T Bell LaboratoriesMurray HillUSA

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