We demonstrate that transport in metallic rare-earth nickelates can be engineered by directly tuning the electronic mean free path. Using irradiation as a tool to induce disorder, we drive this system from a metallic phase into an Anderson insulator. This proceeds via an intermediate regime which shows a thermal crossover from insulating to metallic behavior. We argue that this phase falls within the paradigm of weak localization in three dimensions. We develop a theoretical model for the temperature dependence of resistivity which shows good agreement with our data. The three-dimensional weak localization picture is supported by magnetoconductivity, which scales as ∼B2 up to several tesla. Interestingly, our data indicate that this phase lies in the Mott-Ioffe-Regel regime with the mean free path approaching the lattice constant. Upon further increasing disorder, the charge carriers are localized, leading to insulating behavior at all temperatures. Our results show that irradiation provides a "clean" tuning knob for the mean free path, without altering other system parameters. This suggests promising directions for studies of Anderson localization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)