Studying structure to understand function within ‘material families’

(American Institute of Physics) Carbon, silicon, germanium, tin and lead are all part of a family that share the same structure of their outermost electrons, yet range from acting as insulators to semiconductors to metals.Is it possible to understand these and other trends within element families? In this week's The Journal of Chemical Physics, researchers describe probing the relationship between the structure (arrangement of atoms) and function (physical properties) of a liquid metal form of the element bismuth.

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