*Applicability of Eliashberg Theory for Systems with Electron-Phonon and Electron-Electron Interaction: A Comparative Analysis* (2024)

S Zhang, **ZM Raines**, AV Chubukov

in Phys. Rev. B

We present a comparative analysis of the validity of Eliashberg theory for the cases of fermions interacting with an Einstein phonon and with soft nematic fluctuations near an Ising-nematic/Ising-ferromagnetic quantum-critical point (QCP) in two spatial dimensions. In both cases, Eliashberg theory is obtained by neglecting vertex corrections. For the phonon case, the reasoning to neglect vertex corrections is the Migdal “fast electron/slow boson” argument because the phonon velocity is much smaller than the Fermi velocity, $v_F$. The same argument allows one to compute the fermionic self-energy within Eliashberg theory perturbatively rather than self-consistently. For the nematic case, the velocity of a collective boson is comparable to $v_F$ and this argument does not work. Nonetheless, we argue that while two-loop vertex corrections near a nematic QCP are not small parametrically, they are small numerically. At the same time, perturbative calculation of the fermionic self-energy can be rigorously justified when the fermion-boson coupling is small compared to the Fermi energy by effectively invoking the fast electron/slow boson argument, this time because bosons are Landau overdamped. Furthermore, we argue that for the electron-phonon case Eliashberg theory breaks down at some distance from where the dressed Debye frequency would vanish, while for the nematic case it holds all the way to a QCP. From this perspective, Eliashberg theory for the nematic case actually works better than for the electron-phonon case.