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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 263742, 20 pages
Research Article

Multilevel Tunnelling Systems and Fractal Clustering in the Low-Temperature Mixed Alkali-Silicate Glasses

1Dipartimento di Fisica e Matematica, Università dell’Insubria, Via Valleggio 11, 22100 Como, Italy
2INFN—Sezione di Pavia and IPCF—Sezione di Roma, Italy

Received 7 March 2013; Accepted 31 March 2013

Academic Editors: A. Ovchinnikov and K. Prokeš

Copyright © 2013 Giancarlo Jug and Maksym Paliienko. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The thermal and dielectric anomalies of window-type glasses at low temperatures ( K) are rather successfully explained by the two-level systems (2LS) standard tunneling model (STM). However, the magnetic effects discovered in the multisilicate glasses in recent times, magnetic effects in the organic glasses, and also some older data from mixed (SiO2)1−x(K2O)x and (SiO2)1−x(Na2O)x glasses indicate the need for a suitable extension of the 2LS-STM. We show that—not only for the magnetic effects, but also for the mixed glasses in the absence of a field—the right extension of the 2LS-STM is provided by the (anomalous) multilevel tunnelling systems (ATS) proposed by one of us for multicomponent amorphous solids. Though a secondary type of TS, different from the standard 2LS, was invoked long ago already, we clarify their physical origin and mathematical description and show that their contribution considerably improves the agreement with the experimental data. In spite of dealing with low-temperature properties, our work impinges on the structure and statistical physics of glasses at all temperatures.