• osmium diboride;
  • rhenium diboride;
  • shear moduli;
  • superhard materials


Dense transition metal borides have recently been identified as superhard materials that offer the possibility of ambient pressure synthesis compared to the conventional high pressure, high temperature approach. This feature article begins with a discussion of the relevant physical properties for this class of compounds, followed by a summary of the synthesis and properties of several transition metal borides. A strong emphasis is placed on correlating mechanical properties with electronic and atomic structure of these materials in an effort to better predict new superhard compounds. It concludes with a perspective of future research directions, highlighting some recent results and presenting several new ideas that remain to be tested.