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November 13th, 2003
A Better Look at Atomic Vibrations
The atoms that make up liquids, gases, and even solids are constantly in motion. And in many substances, slight differences in the vibrations of the constituent atoms may have important effects on macroscopic material properties. For example, the motions of impurity atoms can determine whether a material is a useful semiconductor, and measuring the motions of atoms is critical to understanding high-temperature superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance (which has led to new, high capacity hard drives), and numerous other important effects.
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