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20130321172152-0

In a 50/50 mix of copper and niobium, regions that are richer in copper separate from regions that are richer in niobium. The interface between these two kinds of regions forms an irregular sponge-like surface, shown in this visualization in green. While most of the material is disordered (making it a glass), small collections of atoms at the boundary zone (shown in gray) form a stiff interconnected network, giving the material greater strength. Image courtesy of the researchers.

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