Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

08.07.2019

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was believed that these properties could not occur simultaneously in the same material and were therefore incompatible. But this prejudice has been soundly refuted by the research work now published, which has passed through two stages of development in Hamburg and Bayreuth:


The structure of rhenium nitride pernitride containing single nitrogen atoms (red) and N-N nitrogen dumbbells (blue). Larger balls show rhenium atoms.

Illustration: Maxim Bykov

Initially, the scientists synthesized the rhenium nitride pernitride in high-pressure experiments in a laboratory at the University of Bayreuth, and subsequently characterised it chemically and structurally at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY). Under a compression pressure of 40 to 90 gigapascals, small amounts of this material were produced in a diamond anvil cell.

Re₂(N₂)(N)₂ is its chemical formula. "The crystal structure that we discovered in Hamburg’s synchrotron X-ray facility PETRA III surprised us very much: It contains both single nitrogen atoms and the N-N nitrogen dumbbells, in which two nitrogen atoms are strongly bound to each other.

This internal structure obviously creates a very high resistance to pressure acting on the crystals from the outside: Rhenium nitride pernitride is ultra-incompressible," says Dr. Maxim Bykov, postdoctoral researcher at the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI) at the University of Bayreuth.

Here at BGI it was subsequently possible to produce the new material in a large-volume press at a significantly lower pressure (33 gigapascals). "Applications of the large-volume press technology for materials synthesis are of great importance to materials science," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Tomoo Katsura of the Bavarian Geo Institute. At the heart of the new process is a reaction of rhenium with ammonium azide.

The rhenium nitride pernitride synthesized in this way can be investigated under ambient conditions. And the process can be used for the synthesis of other nitrides, in particular nitrides of transition metals, which could also have technologically important properties. This research therefore shows in exemplary fashion just what innovation can come out of high-pressure research in materials science.

"Although the exact scope of application for the new material is still hard to grasp, its exceptional combination of physical properties makes rhenium nitride a material that can help meet the technological challenges of the future," says Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia of the Laboratory of Crystallography at the University of Bayreuth.

"What is important about our new study, however, is not only the results as such, or the technological applications that might one day spring up. What is particularly exciting is that the development and synthesis of the new material contradicts and clearly disproves previous views that were firmly established in materials science. We have succeeded in doing something that, according to earlier predictions, should not have been possible at all. This should stimulate and encourage further theoretical and experimental work in the field of high-pressure material synthesis", explains Prof. Dr. Leonid Dubrovinsky from the Bavarian Geo Institute, who coordinated the international research work together with Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia.

International Cooperation:

In addition to the University of Bayreuth and the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY), the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the University of Linköping, the materials modelling and development laboratory in Moscow, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble were also involved in the research work.

Research Funding:

The research work at the University of Bayreuth was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Maxim Bykov
Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI)
University of Bayreuth
Maxim.Bykov@uni-bayreuth.de

Prof. Dr. Leonid Dubrovinsky
Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI)
University of Bayreuth
Telephone: +49 (0)92155 -3736 or -3707
Leonid.Dubrovinsky@uni-bayreuth.de

Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia
Laboratory for Crystallography
University of Bayreuth
Telephone: +49 (0)92155 -3880 or -3881
Natalia.Dubrovinskaia@uni-bayreuth.de

Originalpublikation:

Maxim Bykov et al.: High-pressure synthesis of ultraincompressible hard rhenium nitride pernitride Re₂(N₂)(N)₂ stable at ambient conditions. Nature Communications (2019),
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10995-3.

Christian Wißler | Universität Bayreuth
Further information:
http://www.uni-bayreuth.de/

Further reports about: Crystallography DESY Electron Synchrotron nitrogen rhenium nitride pernitride

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Scientists' design discovery doubles conductivity of indium oxide transparent coatings
18.09.2019 | University of Liverpool

nachricht Heat shields for economical aircrafts
18.09.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 'Nanochains' could increase battery capacity, cut charging time

How long the battery of your phone or computer lasts depends on how many lithium ions can be stored in the battery's negative electrode material. If the battery runs out of these ions, it can't generate an electrical current to run a device and ultimately fails.

Materials with a higher lithium ion storage capacity are either too heavy or the wrong shape to replace graphite, the electrode material currently used in...

Im Focus: Stevens team closes in on 'holy grail' of room temperature quantum computing chips

Photons interact on chip-based system with unprecedented efficiency

To process information, photons must interact. However, these tiny packets of light want nothing to do with each other, each passing by without altering the...

Im Focus: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quality control in immune communication: Chaperones detect immature signaling molecules in the immune system

20.09.2019 | Life Sciences

Moderately Common Plants Show Highest Relative Losses

20.09.2019 | Life Sciences

The Fluid Fingerprint of Hurricanes

20.09.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>