Materials science gets a nitride boost
Like modern day alchemists, materials scientists often turn unassuming substances into desirable ones. But instead of working metal into gold, they create strange new compounds that could make the electronic components of the future smaller, faster, and more durable. Alexander Goncharov of the Carnegie Institutions Geophysical Laboratory and colleagues* have used extreme temperatures and pressures to make two durable compounds called noble metal nitrides; they are the first to succeed in making one of them, and the first to accurately determine the chemical formula of the other. Both nitrides possess a diamond-like hardness, and some compositions might have very low, nearly superconductive electrical resistance--a blend that could prove quite valuable to industry.
The two nitrides--one containing iridium and another containing platinum--could eventually replace the titanium nitrides currently valued by the semiconductor industry as surface coatings because of their strength and durability. The researchers believe iridium and platinum nitrides might be even more durable. The groups work is presented in the March 3, 2006, issue of the journal Science.
Dr. Alexander Goncharov | EurekAlert!
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