Electrons as Anions

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Science  01 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5633, pp. 607-608
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088103

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In most materials, electrons are either associated with specific atoms or molecules, or are delocalized as in a metal. In his Perspective, Dye discusses recent insights into materials in which electrons behave very differently: They take the place of negatively charged ions. Most of these so-called electrides are only stable at very low temperatures. Matsuishi et al. report a new inorganic electride that is stable at room temperature. Materials of this kind may find application in electron emission, catalysis, and refrigeration.