Heat conduction in oxide glasses: Balancing diffusons and propagons by network rigidity

Søren Strandskov Sørensen, Elsebeth Juhl Pedersen, Frederikke Kildeberg Paulsen, Ida Hammer Adamsen, Jonas Lindholm Laursen, Sofia Christensen, Hicham Johra, Lars Rosgaard Jensen, Morten Mattrup Smedskjær*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the variation of thermal conduction in disordered oxides is important for applications related to energy saving and electronics but currently lacks fundamental insight into the phonon propagation mechanisms. In this Letter, we report a strong correlation between thermal conductivity and the speed of sound within two families of modified oxide glass formers, in agreement with phonon-gas-theory predictions for crystalline materials. Based on calculations of diffuson-mediated heat transport, we then show that thermal conductivity in borate glasses is dominated by diffusive vibrational modes, while both diffusive and propagative modes contribute to heat conduction in silicate glasses. This fundamental difference in the heat propagation mechanism originates from differences in the phonon mean free path of low-frequency modes caused by the inherent variation of atomic rigidity between silicate and borate glasses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031901
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number3
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020


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