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Journal Articles Journal of Physics: Conference Series Year : 2009

Boron carbides from first principles


In this work, we focus on the understanding gained from the investigation of the physical properties of boron carbides with theoretical methods based on density functional theory (DFT). Together with the examination of the DFT total energies of various atomic configurations in the unit cell, comparison with the experiments of the theoretical vibrational or NMR spectra has led to the determination of the atomic structure of B4C as C-B-C chains linking mostly B11C icosahedra, and a few percents of B10C2 icosahedra. In the icosahedron, the carbon atom is found to be in the polar site (B4Cp). When there are two carbon atoms, they are found to be in antipodal polar positions. At carbon concentrations other than 20%, we find that only four structural models have a negative formation energy with respect to a formation from alpha-boron + diamond. Moreover, they all have a positive formation energy with respect to B4Cp, showing a tendency to decompose into B4Cp + alpha-boron or B4Cp + diamond. This metastability explains actual difficulties in the synthesis of clean samples, in particular for B13C2. Finally, the idea of combining high hardness and superconductivity in the same material by doping boron-rich solids has emerged. We show results on the strength of the electron-phonon coupling constant obtained with DFT-based methods in B13C2.

Dates and versions

hal-01013518 , version 1 (25-06-2014)



Nathalie Madeleine Marguerite Vast, Jelena Sjakste, Emmanuel Betranhandy. Boron carbides from first principles. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2009, 176, pp.n/a. ⟨10.1088/1742-6596/176/1/012002⟩. ⟨hal-01013518⟩
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