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Scientists characterized how the electronic states in a compound containing iron, tellurium, and selenium depend on local chemical concentrations. They discovered that superconductivity (conducting electricity without resistance), along with distinct magnetic correlations, appears when the local concentration of iron is sufficiently low; a coexisting electronic state existing only at the surface (topological surface state) arises when the concentration of tellurium is sufficiently high. Reported in Nature Materials, their findings point to the composition range necessary for topological superconductivity. Topological superconductivity could enable more robust quantum computing, which promises to deliver exponential increases in processing power.

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