Staying Neutral for a Change

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Science  12 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5502, pp. 263-264
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5502.263

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Molecular metals usually consist of charge-transfer salts of donor and acceptor molecules. The presence of formal nonintegral oxidation states in these salts was long believed to be a prerequisite for achieving metallicity. But as Cassoux describes in his Perspective, the study by Tanaka et al. rewrites the rules by demonstrating that neutral molecules can form molecular metals. This overturning of conceived wisdom is one in a long list of cases in which assumptions about conducting behaviors of materials had to be revised in the face of new experimental evidence.