Chapter

Introduction to Metal–Insulator Transitions

V. Dobrosavljević

in Conductor-Insulator Quantum Phase Transitions

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592593
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741050 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592593.003.0001
Introduction to Metal–Insulator Transitions

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This Overview provides a general introduction to metal-insulator transitions, with focus on specific mechanisms that can localize the electrons in absence of magnetic or charge ordering, and produce well defined quantum critical behavior. The Overview contrasts the physical picture of Mott, who emphasized the role of electron-electron interactions, and that of Anderson, who stressed the possibility of impurity-induced bound state formation, as alternative routes to arrest the electronic motion. It also describes more complicated situations when both phenomena play coexist, leading to meta-stability, slow relaxation, and glassy behavior of electrons. A critical overview of the available theoretical approaches is then presented, contrasting the weak-coupling perspective, which emphasizes diffusion-mode corrections, and the strong-coupling viewpoint, which stresses inhomogeneous phases and local correlation effects. The Overview gives specific examples of experimental systems, providing clues on what should be the most profitable path forward in unraveling the mystery of metal-insulator transitions.

Keywords: metal-insulator; Mott transitions; Anderson localizations; strong electronic correlations; glassy behavior of electrons; Coulmb-limited phase separation; weak localization; quantum critical scaling; quantum glasses; SDRG; two-fluid model

Chapter.  25111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mathematical and Statistical Physics

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