Visualization of the Local Insulator-Metal Transition in Pr0.7Ca0.3MnO3

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Science  19 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5371, pp. 1925-1928
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5371.1925

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The light-induced insulator-metal transition in the “colossal magnetoresistance” compound Pr0.7Ca0.3MnO3 is shown to generate a well-localized conducting path while the bulk of the sample remains insulating. The path can be visualized through a change of reflectivity that accompanies the phase transition. Its visibility provides a tool for gaining insight into electronic transport in materials with strong magnetic correlations. For example, a conducting path can be generated or removed at an arbitrary position just because of the presence of another path. Such manipulation may be useful in the construction of optical switches.

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