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. 2009 May 8;102(18):185501.
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.185501. Epub 2009 May 7.

Superhard Semiconducting Optically Transparent High Pressure Phase of Boron

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Superhard Semiconducting Optically Transparent High Pressure Phase of Boron

E Yu Zarechnaya et al. Phys Rev Lett. .

Abstract

An orthorhombic (space group Pnnm) boron phase was synthesized at pressures above 9 GPa and high temperature, and it was demonstrated to be stable at least up to 30 GPa. The structure, determined by single-crystal x-ray diffraction, consists of B12 icosahedra and B2 dumbbells. The charge density distribution obtained from experimental data and ab initio calculations suggests covalent chemical bonding in this phase. Strong covalent interatomic interactions explain the low compressibility value (bulk modulus is K300=227 GPa) and high hardness of high-pressure boron (Vickers hardness HV=58 GPa), after diamond the second hardest elemental material.

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