Renormalization-group study of the many-body localization transition in one dimension

Alan Morningstar, David A. Huse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Using a new approximate strong-randomness renormalization group (RG), we study the many-body localized (MBL) phase and phase transition in one-dimensional quantum systems with short-range interactions and quenched disorder. Our RG is built on those of Zhang et al. [Phys. Rev. B 93, 224201 (2016)2469-995010.1103/PhysRevB.93.224201] and Goremykina et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 040601 (2019)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.122.040601], which are based on thermal and insulating blocks. Our main addition is to characterize each insulating block with two lengths: a physical length and an internal decay length ζ for its effective interactions. In this approach, the MBL phase is governed by a RG fixed line that is parametrized by a global decay length ζ, and the rare large thermal inclusions within the MBL phase have a fractal geometry. As the phase transition is approached from within the MBL phase, ζ approaches the finite critical value corresponding to the avalanche instability, and the fractal dimension of large thermal inclusions approaches zero. Our analysis is consistent with a Kosterlitz-Thouless-like RG flow, with no intermediate critical MBL phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number224205
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 21 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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