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VOLUME 90 (2009) | ISSUE 10 | PAGE 746
Percolation with excluded small clusters and Coulomb blockade in a granular system
We consider dc-conductivity σ of a mixture of small conducting and insulating grains slightly below the percolation threshold, where finite clusters of conducting grains are characterized by a wide spectrum of sizes. The charge transport is controlled by tunneling of carriers between neighboring conducting clusters via short "links" consisting of one insulating grain. Upon lowering temperature small clusters (up to some T-dependent size) become Coulomb blockaded, and are avoided, if possible, by relevant hopping paths. We introduce a relevant percolational problem of next-nearest-neighbors (NNN) conductivity with excluded small clusters and demonstrate (both numerically and analytically) that σ decreases as power law of the size of excluded clusters. As a physical consequence, the conductivity is a power-law function of temperature in a wide intermediate temperature range. We express the corresponding index through known critical indices of the percolation theory and confirm this relation numerically.