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, 410 (6829), 653-4

Materials Science. The Hardest Known Oxide

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Materials Science. The Hardest Known Oxide

L S Dubrovinsky et al. Nature.

Abstract

A material as hard as diamond or cubic boron nitride has yet to be identified, but here we report the discovery of a cotunnite-structured titanium oxide which represents the hardest oxide known. This is a new polymorph of titanium dioxide, where titanium is nine-coordinated to oxygen in the cotunnite (PbCl2) structure. The phase is synthesized at pressures above 60 gigapascals (GPa) and temperatures above 1,000 K and is one of the least compressible and hardest polycrystalline materials to be described.

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