Peierls instability

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A periodic distortion in a one-dimensional metal; i.e. a chain of atoms with free electrons. A system of this type has a lower energy if there is a periodic lattice distortion giving alternate longer and shorter bonds. The effect is also found in certain organic compounds containing alternating double and single bonds. It was identified by the German-born British physicist Sir Rudolph Peierls (1907–95) in 1955.

Subjects: Physics.

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