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Single-phase metal dodecaboride (MB) solid solutions, ZrYB and ZrUB were prepared by arc melting from the pure elements. The phase purity and composition were established by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and B and B solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The effects of carbon addition to ZrYB were studied and it was found that carbon causes fast cooling and as a result rapid nucleation of grains, as well as "templating" and patterning effects of the surface morphology. The hardness of the ZrYB phase is 47.6 ± 1.7 GPa at 0.49 N load, which is ~17% higher than that of its parent compounds, ZrB and YB, with hardness values of 41.6 ± 2.6 and 37.5 ± 4.3 GPa, respectively. The hardness of ZrUB is ~54% higher than that of its UB parent. The dodecaborides were confirmed to be metallic by band structure calculations, diffuse reflectance UV-vis and NMR spectroscopies. The nature of the dodecaboride colors - violet for ZrB and blue for YB - can be attributed to charge-transfer. XPS indicates that the metals are in the following oxidation states: Y3, Zr and U. The superconducting transition temperatures (T) of the dodecaborides were determined to be 4.5 and 6.0 K for YB and ZrB, respectively, as shown by resistivity and SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) measurements. The T of the ZrYB solid solution was suppressed to 2.5 K.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of the American Chemical Society
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