Vanadium dioxide’s weird phase transition just got weirder

As the material switches from insulator to conductor, its atoms move chaotically

vanadium atoms

JUMBLED UP  When hit with laser light, vanadium atoms (blue in this illustration) and oxygen atoms (red) in vanadium dioxide reorganize into a new crystal structure. The atoms’ movements during this change are much more disorderly than expected.

Delaire group/Duke University

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