UPTON, NY - By using an x-ray technique available at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), scientists found that the metal-insulator transition in the correlated material magnetite is a two-step process.

The researchers from the University of California Davis published their paper in the journal Physical Review Letters.

NSLS-II, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility located at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has unique features that allow the technique to be applied with stability and control over long periods of time.

"Correlated materials have interesting electronic, magnetic, and structural properties, and we try to understand how those properties change when their temperature is changed or under the application of light pulses, or an electric field" said Roopali Kukreja, a UC Davis professor and the lead author of the paper.

If a material is a good conductor of electricity, it is usually metallic, and if it is not, it is then known as an insulator.

For the published study, the researchers' goal was to see how the magnetite changed from insulator to metallic at the atomic level as it got hotter.

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