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Coherence–incoherence and dimensional crossover in layered strongly correlated metals

Naturevolume 417pages627630 (2002) | Download Citation



The properties of an interacting electron system depend on the electron correlations and the effective dimensionality. For example, Coulomb repulsion between electrons may inhibit, or completely block, conduction by intersite electron hopping, thereby determining whether a material is a metal or an insulator1. Furthermore, correlation effects increase as the number of effective dimensions decreases; in three-dimensional systems, the low-energy electronic states behave as quasiparticles, whereas in one-dimensional systems, even weak interactions break the quasiparticles into collective excitations2. Dimensionality is particularly important for exotic low-dimensional materials where one- or two-dimensional building blocks are loosely connected into a three-dimensional whole. Here we examine two such layered metallic systems with angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and electronic transport measurements, and we find a crossover in the number of effective dimensions—from two to three—with decreasing temperature. This is apparent from the observation that, in the direction perpendicular to the layers, the materials have an insulating character at high temperatures but become metal-like at low temperatures, whereas transport within the layers remains metallic over the whole temperature range. We propose that this change in effective dimensionality correlates with the presence of coherent quasiparticles within the layers.

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We thank A. Tsvelik, R. Werner, S. A. Kivelson and A. V. Fedorov for discussions. The work at BNL and the National Synchrotron Light Source where the experiments were carried out was supported by the US Department of Energy. B.W. thanks the A.P. Sloan foundation for a Research Fellowship.

Author information


  1. Physics Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, 11973, USA

    • T. Valla
    •  & P. D. Johnson
  2. Material Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, 11973, USA

    • Q. Li
  3. Department of Physics, University of Connecticut, 2152 Hillside Road U-46, Storrs, Connecticut, 06269, USA

    • Z. Yusof
    •  & B. Wells
  4. Department of Chemistry and Princeton Materials Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540, USA

    • S. M. Loureiro
    •  & R. J. Cava
  5. Department of Electrical Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamada-oka, Suita-shi, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan

    • M. Mikami
    • , Y. Mori
    • , M. Yoshimura
    •  & T. Sasaki


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Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to T. Valla.

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