Quantum phase transitions in a pseudogap Anderson-Holstein model

Mengxing Cheng and Kevin Ingersent . Quantum phase transitions in a pseudogap Anderson-Holstein model

Phys. Rev. B 87, 075145 (2013), 2013-02-26

Abstract: We study a pseudogap Anderson-Holstein model of a magnetic impurity level that hybridizes with a conduction band whose density of states vanishes in power-law fashion at the Fermi energy, and couples, via its charge, to a non-dispersive bosonic mode (e.g., an optical phonon). The model, which we treat using poor-man’s scaling and the numerical renormalization group, exhibits quantum phase transitions of different types depending on the strength of the impurity-boson coupling. For weak impurity-boson coupling, the suppression of the density of states near the Fermi energy leads to quantum phase transitions between strong-coupling (Kondo) and local-moment phases. For sufficiently strong impurity-boson coupling, however, the bare repulsion between a pair of electrons in the impurity level becomes an effective attraction, leading to quantum phase transitions between strong-coupling (charge Kondo) and local-charge phases. Even though the Hamiltonian exhibits different symmetries in the spin and charge sectors, the thermodynamic properties near the two types of quantum phase transition are closely related under spin-charge interchange. Moreover, the critical responses to a local magnetic field (for small impurity-boson coupling) and to an electric potential (for large impurity-boson coupling) are characterized by the same exponents, whose values place these quantum-critical points in the universality class of the pseudogap Anderson model. One specific case of the pseudogap Anderson-Holstein model may be realized in a double-quantum-dot device, where the quantum phase transitions manifest themselves in the finite-temperature linear electrical conductance.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.87.075145

Web link