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Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals the "rules of the road" for electrons both in normal conditions and in the critical moments just before the material transforms into a superconductor.

In a study online this week in the American Physical Society journal Physical Review X (PRX), physicist Ming Yi and colleagues offer up a band structure map for selenide, a material that has long puzzled physicists because of its structural simplicity and behavioral complexity. The map, which details the electronic states of the material, is a visual summary of data gathered from measurements of a single crystal of iron selenide as it was cooled to the point of superconductivity.

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