Inspired by a recent experiment of localizationdelocalization transition (LDT) of indirect excitons in lateral electrostatic lattices (Remeika etal 2009 Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 186803), we theoretically investigate the interplay between periodic potential and nonlinear interactions of indirect excitons in coupled quantum wells. It is shown that the model involving both attractive two-body and repulsive three-body interactions can lead to a natural account for the LDT of excitons across the lattice when reducing lattice amplitude or increasing particle density. In addition, the observations that the smooth component of the photoluminescent energy increases with increasing exciton density and that the exciton interaction energy is close to the lattice amplitude at the transition are also qualitatively explained. Our model provides an alternative way of understanding the underlying physics of the exciton dynamics in lattice potential wells.
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