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Superconductivity in diamond

Abstract

Diamond is an electrical insulator well known for its exceptional hardness. It also conducts heat even more effectively than copper, and can withstand very high electric fields1. With these physical properties, diamond is attractive for electronic applications2, particularly when charge carriers are introduced (by chemical doping) into the system. Boron has one less electron than carbon and, because of its small atomic radius, boron is relatively easily incorporated into diamond3; as boron acts as a charge acceptor, the resulting diamond is effectively hole-doped. Here we report the discovery of superconductivity in boron-doped diamond synthesized at high pressure (nearly 100,000 atmospheres) and temperature (2,500–2,800 K). Electrical resistivity, magnetic susceptibility, specific heat and field-dependent resistance measurements show that boron-doped diamond is a bulk, type-II superconductor below the superconducting transition temperature Tc ≈ 4 K; superconductivity survives in a magnetic field up to Hc2(0) ≥ 3.5 T. The discovery of superconductivity in diamond-structured carbon suggests that Si and Ge, which also form in the diamond structure, may similarly exhibit superconductivity under the appropriate conditions.

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Figure 1: Optical and scanning electron microscopy images of the material.
Figure 2: X-ray diffraction and Raman spectra of B-doped diamond.
Figure 3: Electrical resistivity and upper critical field curves for B-doped diamond.
Figure 4: Magnetic susceptibility of B-doped diamond near Tc.

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Acknowledgements

We thank D. Wayne for mass spectrometry measurements of the B content of our samples, A. Presz for SEM images and S. Gierlotka for help in sample analysis. This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and by the Strongly Correlated Electrons Program of the Department of Physical Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences. Work at Los Alamos was performed under the auspices of the US DOE.Authors' contributions Boron-doped diamond samples were synthesized by E.A.E., and their physical properties measured by V.A.S., E.D.B., N.N.M., N.J.C., J.D.T. and S.M.S.

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Correspondence to V. A. Sidorov.

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Ekimov, E., Sidorov, V., Bauer, E. et al. Superconductivity in diamond. Nature 428, 542–545 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02449

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