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Highly sensitive X-ray scattering shows why an exotic material is sometimes a metal, sometimes an insulator

Some materials hold surprising – and possibly useful – properties: neodymium nickel oxide is either a metal or an insulator, depending on its temperature. This characteristic makes the material a potential candidate for transistors in modern electronic devices. To understand how neodymium nickel oxide makes the transition from metal to insulator, researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the University of Geneva UNIGE have precisely probed the distribution of electrons in the material.
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