Variational theory of elastic manifolds with correlated disorder and localization of interacting quantum particles
We apply the Gaussian variational method (GVM) to study the equilibrium statistical mechanics of two related systems: (i) classical elastic manifolds, such as flux lattices, in the presence of columnar disorder correlated along the τ direction, and (ii) interacting quantum particles in a static random potential. We find localization by disorder, the localized phase being described by a replica-symmetry-broken solution confined to the mode ω=0. For classical systems we compute the correlation function of relative displacements. In d=2+1, in the absence of dislocations, the GVM allows one to describe the Bose glass phase. Along the columns the displacements saturate at a length l⊥, indicating flux-line localization. Perpendicularly to the columns long-range order is destroyed. We find a divergent tilt modulus c44=∞ and a x~τ1/2 scaling. Quantum systems are studied using the analytic continuation from imaginary to real time τ-->it. We compute the conductivity and find that it behaves at small frequency as σ(ω)~=ω2 in all dimensions (d<4) for which disorder is relevant. We compute the quantum localization length ξ. In d=1, where the model also describes interacting fermions in a static random potential, we find a delocalization transition and obtain analytically both the low- and high-frequency behavior of the conductivity for any value of the interaction. We show that the marginality condition appears as the condition to obtain the correct physical behavior. Agreement with renormalization group results is found whenever it can be compared.