Researchers used microwave-plasma chemical vapor deposition to create thin crystal films of a novel boron-rich boron-carbide material. This film, grown on a 1-inch wafer of silicon, is chemically stable, has 37 percent the hardness of cubic diamond and acts as an insulator. Experimental testing of the new material agrees closely with predicted values computed from first-principles analysis, which uses supercomputer-driven density functional theory calculations of positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons.
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