News of the WeekCondensed-Matter Physics

Switch-Hitter Materials Tantalize Theorists

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Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 1987
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5524.1987

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In the 4 June issue of Physical Review Letters, a team of physicists and materials scientists reports turning hydrides of the rare earth elements yttrium and lanthanum into shiny conductors by flashing them with ultraviolet (UV) light. The UV-triggered switchable mirrors are intriguing both in their basic physics and for possible applications to optoelectronics, say researchers.