Machine Design

Metal nitrides could make semiconductors more durable

Researchers discovered a new class of nitrides that could make semiconductors, superconductors,and corrosionresistantdevices more durable.

The newly proposed structure of platinum nitride is similar to that of pyrite (iron disulphide). Gray spheres represent platinum. Blue spheres represent nitrogen.

Using high pressures and temperatures, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created a large batch of nitride of iridium, a noble metal. Pressure in excess of 47 GPa was provided by opposed diamonds in a diamond anvil cell (DAC). In the DAC, a sample is placed between the polished culets of two diamonds and is contained on the sides by a metal gasket. A laser heated things up to 1,600°K.

Scientists also determined the structure of the nitride of platinum, as well as its bulk modulus. The results could lead to more durable materials. The semiconductor industry currently uses titanium nitrides, but the new nitrides may prove to be even longer lasting. Further research is needed to find a way to produce the nitrides industrially.

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