Scientists in Russia have doped carbon with boron at high temperatures and
pressures. The result is the creation of a form of diamond that super conducts
and exhibits bulk superconductivity below around 4 Kelvin and remains a
superconductor in strong magnetic fields. A boron doped diamond is normally a
semiconductor but it has for the first time under these conditions shown
Diamond has exceptional properties such as electric insulation, hardness,
conduction of heat and also resistance to strong electric fields. Thus when it
is doped with charge carriers such as boron, diamonds are more useful in
electronics applications. Boron doped diamonds were created by reacting
graphite carbon with boron carbide (B4C) at 2500Kelvin and 8 gigapascals for a
few seconds. The diamond contained about 2 to 3% of boron as revealed by the
Nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry.
The superconducting transition temperature (Tc) at which the resistance of the
superconductor falls to zero is 4 Kelvin. All this has been made possible by
measuring the electrical resistivity and magnetic susceptibility of the boron
doped diamond. The diamond retains its superconductivity properties in magnetic
fields of 3.5 Tesla.
According to Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory of superconductivity that the
interactions between the vibrations of the crystal lattice and the electrons,
allow the electrons to overcome their individual electrostatic repulsive forces
to bind together and form pairs, thus leading to superconductivity. These
electron pairs are called as phonons. It is not easy to predict and prove
superconductivity behavior in diamonds. But recent tests have shown that
percolation of impurities in the diamond lattice may also be the cause of such
behavior. Superconductivity as a phenomenon is very rare and more tests on
related elements such as silicon and germanium might yield significant results.
However the properties of diamonds as such are very unique and yet new
properties are being revealed everyday.
The discoveries are coming from all over the world, Japan; South Africa all have
pronounced that diamond has that superconducting property. This can lead to a
very bright future for the electronics world which has been searching for a
superconductor of the nature of diamonds to lead the way in the electronics
revolution of the future.