- Nov 1, 2016
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Vanadium dioxide has the unusual ability to switch from electrical insulator to conductor at the low temperature of 152 degrees Fahrenheit. By optically triggering this phase transition and pinging its atoms with X-ray pulses, researchers have watched the transition unfold in full detail for the first time, finding that the atoms arrive at their destinations through unpredictable routes independently of each other. This study is important to understanding the behavior of photo-excited materials.