Disorder-Driven Metal-Insulator Transitions in Deformable Lattices.

Physical review letters

PubMedID: 28157337

Di Sante D, Fratini S, Dobrosavljevic V, Ciuchi S. Disorder-Driven Metal-Insulator Transitions in Deformable Lattices. Phys Rev Lett. 2017;118(3):036602.
We show that, in the presence of a deformable lattice potential, the nature of the disorder-driven metal-insulator transition is fundamentally changed with respect to the noninteracting (Anderson) scenario. For strong disorder, even a modest electron-phonon interaction is found to dramatically renormalize the random potential, opening a mobility gap at the Fermi energy. This process, which reflects disorder-enhanced polaron formation, is here given a microscopic basis by treating the lattice deformations and Anderson localization effects on the same footing. We identify an intermediate "bad insulator" transport regime which displays resistivity values exceeding the Mott-Ioffe-Regel limit and with a negative temperature coefficient, as often observed in strongly disordered metals. Our calculations reveal that this behavior originates from significant temperature-induced rearrangements of electronic states due to enhanced interaction effects close to the disorder-driven metal-insulator transition.