Superconductivity in Boron

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Science  13 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5528, pp. 272-274
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062286

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Metals formed from light elements are predicted to exhibit intriguing states of electronic order. Of these materials, those containing boron are of considerable current interest because of their relatively high superconducting temperatures. We have investigated elemental boron to very high pressure using diamond anvil cell electrical conductivity techniques. We find that boron transforms from a nonmetal to a superconductor at about 160 gigapascals (GPa). The critical temperature of the transition increases from 6 kelvin (K) at 175 GPa to 11.2 K at 250 GPa, giving a positive pressure derivative of 0.05 K/GPa. Although the observed metallization pressure is compatible with the predictions of first-principles calculations, superconductivity in boron remains to be explored theoretically. The present results constitute a record pressure for both electrical conductivity studies and investigations of superconductivity in dense matter.

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