The metal-insulator transition: a perspective

David Prestwich Tunstall, PP Edwards, RL Johnston, CNR Rao, other 1

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The metal-insulator transition, a quantum phase transition signifying the natural transformation of a metallic conductor to an insulator, continues to be the focus of intense inquiry and debate. The first discussion of the heuristic differences between metals and insulators, and implicitly the critical conditions for the transition between these canonical electronic regimes, dates back to the dawn of the twentieth century. As we approach the end of the century, the precise nature of the metal-insulator transition remains one of the major intellectual challenges in condensed matter science. In this article we present a brief introduction to just some of the key underlying features of this enduring physical phenomenon. The following articles and discussion present a detailed current account of the many facets of the science of the metal-insulator transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 1998


  • metal-non-metal transition
  • metal-insulator transition
  • minimum metallic conductivity
  • electrical conductivity
  • electron-electron interactions


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