Yogesh Vohra, Ph.D., uses microwave-plasma chemical vapor deposition to create thin crystal films of never-before-seen materials. This attempt seeks materials that method a diamond in hardness and are in a position to survive excessive pressure, temperature, and corrosive environments. The search for new materials is motivated by the desire to beat the limitations of a diamond, which tends to oxidize at temperatures greater than 600 degree Celsius and also chemically reacts with ferrous metals.
Vohra, a professor and university scholar at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Physics, now reports, in the journal Scientific Reports, synthesis of novel boron-rich boron-carbide materials. This film, grown on a 1-inch wafer of silicon, is chemically stable, has 37% the hardness of cubic diamond and acts as an insulator.
Equally important, experimental testing of the brand new material—along with X-ray diffraction and measurement of the material’s hardness and Young’s modulus—agrees intently with predicted values computed by the UAB team of researchers headed by Cheng-Chien Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at UAB.
The predicted values come from first-principles evaluation, which uses supercomputer-driven density-functional idea calculations of positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons.
Thus, Vohra, Chen, and the team has made a novel boron-carbon compound and have shown the predictive power of first rules analysis to foretell the properties of those materials.