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Chemist Creates New Boron Material of Extreme Hardness Developed by Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition

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.

Chemist Creates New Boron Material of Extreme Hardness Developed by Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition

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.

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