Crystalline Electron Pairs

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Science  03 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5689, pp. 1410-1411
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099569

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The mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates remains a topic of intense debate, with both exotic elementary excitations and unusual ordered states having been proposed. In his Perspective, Franz discusses recent experimental studies that investigate what kinds of charge ordering might occur in these materials. Images of the electronic structure of superconducting surfaces indicate that the electrons pair up and form crystalline structures, which may be involved in the mechanism of superconductivity.