Incoherent transport in clean quantum critical metals

Richard A. Davison, Blaise Goutéraux*, Sean A. Hartnoll

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


In a clean quantum critical metal, and in the absence of umklapp, most d.c. conductivities are formally infinite due to momentum conservation. However, there is a particular combination of the charge and heat currents which has a finite, universal conductivity. In this paper, we describe the physics of this conductivity σQ in quantum critical metals obtained by charge doping a strongly interacting conformal field theory. We show that it satisfies an Einstein relation and controls the diffusivity of a conserved charge in the metal. We compute σQ in a class of theories with holographic gravitational duals. Finally, we show how the temperature scaling of σQ depends on certain critical exponents characterizing the quantum critical metal. The holographic results are found to be reproduced by the scaling analysis, with the charge density operator becoming marginal in the emergent low energy quantum critical theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Gauge-gravity correspondence
  • Holography and condensed matter physics (AdS/CMT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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