Impurity atoms in a material are usually viewed as a problem because they can result in non-ideal properties. However, they can sometimes be used to advantage when attempting to understand new materials. This is because the interactions of an impurity atom with the material reveal detailed information on the local electronic environment. In this paper we discuss scanning tunneling microscopy studies of the atomic-scale effects of individual Ni and Zn impurity atoms on the cuprate high critical temperature superconductors.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)05422-6