Researchers in Japan say they have watched individual atoms rearrange themselves during the semiconductor-to-metal phase transition in molybdenite (MoS2) – a graphene-like material that can occur in sheets just one molecule thick. Until now, such phase transitions were thought of as collective motions of atoms, but the new observations show that atom-by-atom movements are at play. The result could provide important information to researchers trying to create electronic devices from single sheets of MoS2.

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