The findings of their work have just been published in a paper entitled “Evolutionary search for superhard materials: Methodology and applications to forms of carbon and TiO2,” in the current online edition of Physical Review B.
Superhard materials, used in many scientific and technological applications (for example as abrasive coatings in cutting and drilling tools), are a relatively small class of compounds. The most famous and widely used of these are diamond and cubic boron nitride. However, both of them are unstable at high temperatures, which limit their applicability. Therefore, the search for new superhard compounds is of great interest. Despite numerous efforts, progress has been slow. “The traditional trial-and-error approach to search for new materials usually involves a lot of pain and little gain,” explained Prof. Oganov.
Dr. Lyakhov and Prof. Oganov propose to use supercomputers in the search for new superhard materials. Scientists developed a special hybrid evolutionary algorithm, and tested it on a few promising systems, such as carbon and carbon nitride (which many scientists believe to be able to surpass the diamond by hardness). The results show the power of this algorithm and confirm that diamond is the hardest form of carbon and, so far, the hardest material. As a byproduct of the calculations, a set of novel superhard carbon structures was obtained – these are only marginally softer than diamond. It was also shown that carbon nitride cannot be harder than diamond.
Another area where the algorithm can be used is the validation of controversial experimental data. Researchers give an example by dethroning TiO2 as the hardest known oxide. The suggestion that a high-pressure form of TiO2 is the hardest oxide was made by Swedish researchers in a highly-cited paper published in 2001 in Nature. However, calculations show that all possible forms of TiO2 are much softer than common corundum, Al2O3, and therefore the experimental data from 2001 has to be reconsidered. The latest experiments done at Yale University and the University of Tokyo point in the same direction. In the near future, scientists plan to apply their algorithm to promising systems, such as boron-carbon-oxygen compounds, to search for new superhard materials.
The value of this work goes well beyond the field of superhard materials. The optimization of hardness is a successful proof-of-principle example, which opens the way for a novel computational technique. “A new era in material design and discovery is about to begin,” said Prof. Oganov. “New materials with desired properties will be routinely discovered using supercomputers, instead of the expensive trial-and-error method that is used today.”
| Newswise Science News
Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet
18.08.2017 | Aalto University
Superconductivity research reveals potential new state of matter
17.08.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences