Rice lab’s boron nitride composite could be handy for advanced technology apps | Rice Information | News and Media Relations

Just as carbon helps make up both of those the brittle main of a No. 2 pencil and the harder-than-steel diamond in a slicing software, boron nitride gives increase to compounds that can be soft or tricky. Nevertheless, contrary to carbon, considerably fewer is known about boron nitride’s forms and their responses to shifting temperatures and pressures.

A. Biswas
Abhijit Biswas is a research scientist in the Nanomaterials Laboratory at Rice University. (Picture by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Rice University researchers mixed hexagonal boron nitride ⎯ a gentle selection also acknowledged as “white graphite” ⎯ with cubic boron nitride ⎯ a substance next to diamond in hardness ⎯ and located that the resulting nanocomposite interacted with gentle and warmth in sudden ways that could be handy in up coming-technology microchips, quantum equipment and other highly developed technological innovation applications.

“Hexagonal boron nitride is widely employed in a variety of solutions, these types of as coatings, lubricants and cosmetics,” claimed Abhijit Biswas, a research scientist who is the lead author of a research about the study released in Nano Letters. “It’s pretty soft and it is a great lubricant, and quite lightweight. It is also affordable and quite stable at room temperature and under atmospheric pressure.

“Cubic boron nitride is also a pretty appealing product, with houses that make it quite promising for use in electronics. As opposed to hexagonal boron nitride, it’s tremendous challenging ⎯ it is shut to diamond in hardness, really.”

The composite of these two seemingly opposite materials outperformed its dad or mum components in various functionalities.

“We discovered the composite had small thermal conductivity, which usually means it could provide as a heat-insulating material in electronic products, for occasion,” Biswas stated. “The thermal and optical houses of the blended materials are quite distinctive from an normal of the two boron nitride types.”

H. Zhu
Hanyu Zhu (Picture by Jeff Fitlow/Rice College)

Hanyu Zhu, just one of the corresponding authors on the analyze, stated he envisioned that “the optical residence we evaluate referred to as second harmonic technology would be compact for this variety of disordered material.

“But it truly turns out to be fairly big just after heating, an buy of magnitude much more than both of those the personal substance and the untreated combination.”

He claimed the boron and nitrogen atoms in the composite exhibited bigger regularity and formed larger grains, exactly where a grain designates the dimension of a group of atoms aligned coherently in a lattice.

“We had been stunned to find that the cubic boron nitride grains grow rather of diminish in this product from the modest grains in the unmixed starting up compounds,” explained Zhu, the William Marsh Rice Chair and assistant professor of materials science and nanoengineering.

Theoretical predictions and experimental outcomes yielded competing promises about which of the two boron nitride kinds was the much more stable:

Boron nitride samples (Picture by Jeff Fitlow/Rice College)

“Some theorists say that, at ambient situations, cubic boron nitride is additional steady,” Biswas reported. “Experimentally, individuals have viewed that hexagonal boron nitride is really stable. So if you ask an individual which boron nitride phase is the most steady, they’ll possible say hexagonal boron nitride. What we’re seeing experimentally is the opposite of what folks are declaring concept-intelligent, and it’s nevertheless up for debate.”

When the composite was subjected to a rapid, significant-temperature strategy known as spark plasma sintering, it transformed into hexagonal boron nitride. Biswas explained this confirmed theoretical predictions and assisted paint a fuller picture of “which versions of boron nitrides seem at what conditions.”

Additionally, the hexagonal boron nitride acquired soon after this therapy was of a higher high quality than the one to begin with utilized for the mixture.

“What we’ll be wanting at up coming is regardless of whether the spark plasma sintering strategy improves the good quality of hexagonal boron nitride all on its individual, or whether or not you require the composite to get that influence,” Biswas claimed.

P. Ajayan
Pulickel Ajayan (Photograph by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

“What is interesting about this study is that it opens up options to tailor boron nitride supplies with the correct quantities of hexagonal and cubic structures, thus enabling a broad selection of customized mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical attributes in this content,” mentioned Pulickel Ajayan, a corresponding author on the research and chair of Rice’s Section of Elements Science and Nanoengineering. Ajayan is the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor of Engineering and a professor of materials science and nanoengineering, chemistry, and chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Zhiting Tian, Eugene A. Leinroth Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow and an affiliate professor in Cornell University’s Sibley College of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is also a corresponding writer.

The investigation was supported by the Army Study Business office (W911NF-19-2-0269), the Nationwide Science Foundation (2005096), the Place of work of Naval Exploration (N00014-22-1-2357) and the Section of Electrical power (DE-SC0012311).

Peer-reviewed paper:

“Phase Security of Hexagonal/Cubic Boron Nitride Nanocomposites” | Nano Letters | DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.3c01537

Authors: Abhijit Biswas, Rui Xu, Joyce Christiansen-Salameh, Eugene Jeong, Gustavo Alvarez, Chenxi Li, Anand Puthirath, Bin Gao, Arushi Garg, Tia Grey, Harikishan Kannan, Xiang Zhang, Jacob Elkins, Tymofii Pieshkov, Robert Vajtai, A. Glen Birdwell, Mahesh Neupane, Bradford Pate, Tony Ivanov, Elias Garratt, Pengcheng Dai, Hanyu Zhu, Zhiting Tian and Pulickel Ajayan


Graphic downloads:

CAPTION: Abhijit Biswas is a research scientist in the Nanomaterials Laboratory at Rice College. (Photograph by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Boron nitride samples (Image by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

CAPTION: Hanyu Zhu (Picture by Jeff Fitlow/Rice College)

CAPTION: Pulickel Ajayan (Photograph by Jeff Fitlow/Rice College)

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One-way links:

Ajayan lab: https://ajayan.rice.edu

Zhu lab: https://zhugroup.rice.edu/

Office of Elements Science and NanoEngineering: https://msne.rice.edu

George R. Brown School of Engineering: https://engineering.rice.edu

About Rice:

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is constantly rated among the the nation’s prime 20 universities by U.S. Information & Globe Report. Rice has highly respected educational facilities of Architecture, Organization, Continuing Scientific tests, Engineering, Humanities, Audio, Purely natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Community Policy. With 4,552 undergraduates and 3,998 graduate pupils, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-school ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its household university system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just just one explanation why Rice is rated No. 1 for heaps of race/course interaction and No. 4 for excellent of lifestyle by the Princeton Overview. Rice is also rated as a very best benefit among the private universities by Kiplinger’s Particular Finance.

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