A nonlinear screening theory is formulated to study the problem of gap formation and its relation to glassy freezing in classical Coulomb glasses. We find that a pseudogap (”plasma dip”) in a single-particle density of states begins to open already at temperatures comparable to the Coulomb energy. This phenomenon is shown to reflect the emergence of short-range correlations in a liquid (plasma) phase, a process which occurs even in the absence of disorder. Glassy ordering emerges when disorder is present, but this occurs only at temperatures roughly an order of magnitude lower. Our result demonstrate that the formation of the plasma dip at high temperatures is a process distinct from the formation of the Efros-Shklovskii pseudogap, which in our model emerges only within the glassy phase.
- Received 26 June 2004
©2005 American Physical Society