The metal-insulator transition: A perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Indian Institute of Science
  • Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104, USA
  • Philipps-Universitat Marburg


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 metalinsulator transition.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1735
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 1998


  • Electrical conductivity, Electron-electron interactions, Metal-insulator transition, Metal-non-metal transition, Minimum metallic conductivity