Rare-region effects and dynamics near the many-body localization transition

Kartiek Agarwal, Ehud Altman, Eugene Demler, Sarang Gopalakrishnan, David A. Huse, Michael Knap

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


The low-frequency response of systems near the many-body localization phase transition, on either side of the transition, is dominated by contributions from rare regions that are locally “in the other phase”, i.e., rare localized regions in a system that is typically thermal, or rare thermal regions in a system that is typically localized. Rare localized regions affect the properties of the thermal phase, especially in one dimension, by acting as bottlenecks for transport and the growth of entanglement, whereas rare thermal regions in the localized phase act as local “baths” and dominate the low-frequency response of the MBL phase. We review recent progress in understanding these rare-region effects, and discuss some of the open questions associated with them: in particular, whether and in what circumstances a single rare thermal region can destabilize the many-body localized phase. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1600326
JournalAnnalen der Physik
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Griffiths effects
  • localization physics
  • slow dynamical phenomena


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