This release is available in Chinese.
College Park, MD (June 22, 2010) -- What could be better than diamond when it comes to a superhard material for electronics under extreme thermal and pressure conditions? Quite possibly BC5, a diamond-like material with an extremely high boron content that offers exceptional hardness and resistance to fracture, but unlike diamond, it is a superconductor rather than an insulator. A research team in China studying BC5 describes its potential in the Journal of Applied Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
"Our current study reveals a great possibility that BC5 may possess both superhard and superconducting properties that are beneficial to the creation of multifunctional devices under extreme conditions," says Professor Yanming Ma, who led the research team at Jilin University.
At the heart of their study is the proposal that the synthesized BC5 adopts the diamond- structure with special symmetry. Explains Ma, the BC5 structure has atomic packing of the form ABCABC... along the  crystallographic direction of diamond. This makes the deep understanding of this superhard and superconducting species possible. Ma believes that the outstanding mechanical and electrical properties of BC5 can be adapted to design new superconducting nano-electromechanical systems and high-pressure devices.
Quan Li, the study's first author, expects their findings to stimulate further research into other B-C-N compounds with superhard and superconducting properties.
The article, "Superhard and Superconducting Structures of BC5" by Quan Li et al will appear in the Journal of Applied Physics. See: http://jap.
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ABOUT JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS
Journal of Applied Physics is the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) archival journal for significant new results in applied physics; content is published online daily, collected into two online and printed issues per month (24 issues per year). The journal publishes articles that emphasize understanding of the physics underlying modern technology, but distinguished from technology on the one side and pure physics on the other. See: http://jap.
The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.