Finite-size effects in Luther-Emery phases of Holstein and Hubbard models
Phys. Rev. B, 92 (24), 245132, (2015)
The one-dimensional Holstein model and its generalizations have been studied extensively to understand the effects of electron-phonon interaction. The half-filled case is of particular interest, as it describes a transition from a metallic phase with a spin gap due to attractive backscattering to a Peierls insulator with charge-density-wave (CDW) order. Our quantum Monte Carlo results support the existence of a metallic phase with dominant power-law charge correlations, as described by the Luther-Emery fixed point. We demonstrate that for Holstein and also for purely fermionic models the spin gap significantly complicates finite-size numerical studies, and explains inconsistent previous results for Luttinger parameters and phase boundaries. On the other hand, no such complications arise in spinless models. The correct low-energy theory of the spinful Holstein model is argued to be that of singlet bipolarons with a repulsive, mutual interaction. This picture naturally explains the existence of a metallic phase, but also implies that gapless Luttinger liquid theory is not applicable.