DATABASE: Skimming the Surface

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Science  28 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5786, pp. 417
DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5786.417a

A physicist can deduce a lot about a metal from its Fermi surface, which maps the momentum of electrons moving in different directions within the crystal lattice. The contours of the surface reveal the crystal's optical, thermal, and electrical properties such as how its conductivity will change in a magnetic field. Physics postdoc Tat-Sang Choy of Ohio State University, Columbus, and colleagues built this storehouse of Fermi surface data. The gallery depicts the theoretically determined surfaces for more than 40 metallic elements, including gold, zirconium, and rhenium. If you cross your eyes, paired stereographic images of each element merge into a single 3D illustration. You can also download the coordinates for the surfaces.

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