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Published October 6, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Quantum and classical relaxation in the proton glass


The hydrogen-bond network formed from a crystalline solution of ferroelectric RbH_2PO_4 and antiferroelectric NH_4H_2PO_4 demonstrates glassy behavior, with proton tunneling the dominant mechanism for relaxation at low temperature. We characterize the dielectric response over seven decades of frequency and quantitatively fit the long-time relaxation by directly measuring the local potential energy landscape via neutron Compton scattering. The collective motion of protons rearranges the hydrogen bonds in the network. By analogy with vortex tunneling in superconductors, we relate the logarithmic decay of the polarization to the quantum-mechanical action.

Additional Information

© 2006 The American Physical Society. (Received 4 April 2006; published 4 October 2006). We thank G. Crabtree, Y. Galperin, R. Jaramillo, M.-L. Saboungi, G. Seidler, P. Simon, V. Vinokur, and especially S. Nagel for helpful discussions and T. Abdul-Redah, A. Bytchkov, J. Hu, J. Mayers, and D. Silevitch for technical assistance. Work at the University of Chicago was supported by the NSF MRSEC Grant No. DMR-0213745. G. R. acknowledges DOE No. 1-5-555229 for the NCS effort.

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Published - PhysRevLett.97.145501.pdf


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