Single-file electrons

Observations of electrons moving in single file along channels on a metal are providing Austrian scientists with new insights into how to make novel superconductors. Erminald Bertel of the Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Innsbruck and his colleagues have used nanoscale channels in a metal single crystal to control the movement of electrons. They used photoelectron spectroscopy and other techniques to observe the movement of the electronic rank and file and showed that above a critical temperature the electrons move from this coherent state to an incoherent one. Such a transition could be related to the break down of superconductivity above a critical temperature and might help in the design of higher temperature superconductors.