PerspectivePhysics

Sensing Electrons on the Edge

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1057-1059
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088510

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Summary

Plutonium is notorious for its radioactive properties, but in his Perspective, Lander draws attention to another property of this element: its unusual electronic properties that have long defied explanation. A recent theoretical study has overcome the problems associated with simulating the electron correlations in solid plutonium. The simulation shed light on the movement of atoms in the solid. Now, Wong et al. report experimental results that agree extremely well with the simulations. Together, the two studies provide important insights into the elastic and thermodynamic properties of plutonium.