Theory of the Insulating State

Phys. Rev. 133, A171 – Published 6 January 1964
Walter Kohn


In this paper a new and more comprehensive characterization of the insulating state of matter is developed. This characterization includes the conventional insulators with energy gap as well as systems discussed by Mott which, in band theory, would be metals. The essential property is this: Every low-lying wave function Φ of an insulating ring breaks up into a sum of functions, Φ=Σ-ΦM, which are localized in disconnected regions of the many-particle configuration space and have essentially vanishing overlap. This property is the analog of localization for a single particle and leads directly to the electrical properties characteristic of insulators. An Appendix deals with a soluble model exhibiting a transition between an insulating and a conducting state.


  • Received 30 August 1963
  • Published in the issue dated January 1964

© 1964 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Walter Kohn

  • University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

References (Subscription Required)

Authorization Required




Log In



Article Lookup
Paste a citation or DOI

Enter a citation
  1. Enter a citation to look up or terms to search.

    Ex: "PRL 112 068103", "Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 068103", "10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.068103"