Low-frequency conductivity in many-body localized systems

Sarang Gopalakrishnan, Markus Müller, Vedika Khemani, Michael Knap, Eugene Demler, David A. Huse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


We argue that the ac conductivity σ(ω) in the many-body localized phase is a power law of frequency ω at low frequency: specifically, σ(ω)∼ωα with the exponent α approaching 1 at the phase transition to the thermal phase, and asymptoting to 2 deep in the localized phase. We identify two separate mechanisms giving rise to this power law: deep in the localized phase, the conductivity is dominated by rare resonant pairs of configurations; close to the transition, the dominant contributions are rare regions that are locally critical or in the thermal phase. We present numerical evidence supporting these claims, and discuss how these power laws can also be seen through polarization-decay measurements in ultracold atomic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104202
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 11 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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