Recent Advances in New Hard High-Pressure Nitrides


  • The present Review is based on the scientific content discussed in a workshop series devoted to “Spinel Nitrides and Related Materials” held in 2002 and 2004 in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany (for more details see This biannual meeting addresses the scientific efforts and issues associated with the synthesis, structure, properties, processing, and modeling of novel nitrides, including binary main group element nitrides and transition metal nitrides, as well as ternary carbide nitrides, oxide nitrides, and other related materials.

    This work was financially supported in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, Germany. We also thank the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, Frankfurt, Germany for supporting the workshop on “Spinel Nitrides and Related Materials”. A.Z. is grateful to the Adolf-Messer foundation for financial support. J.E.L acknowledges the support of the N.R.F (S.A.). W.Y.C. is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG02-84DR45 170. I.T. acknowledges support from MEXT, Japan for the computational materials science unit at Kyoto University, as well as support from the 21st century COE project. T.S. acknowledges support from MEXT and NIMS.


Since the discovery of spinel nitrides in 1999, there has been a lot of effort in basic science to further develop advanced nitrides and electronic nitrides. The aim and scope of the research in this field is to synthesize novel nitrides for structural and functional applications. Silicon-based spinel nitrides combine ultrahigh hardness with high thermal stability against decomposition in different environments, suggesting potential applications as cutting tools. These materials are also expected to show interesting optoelectronic properties, which may lead to applications in light-emitting diodes. The synthesis of spinel silicon and germanium nitrides at ultrahigh pressures and temperatures, as well as the successful synthesis of tin nitride at ambient pressure, has created an enormous impact on both the basic science and technological development of advanced nitrides. Moreover, the discovery of novel phases of transition metal nitrides, such as Zr3N4 and Hf3N4 with a Th3P4 structure, as well as the recently reported nitrides of Pt and Mo, demonstrates the scientific potential of high-pressure synthesis techniques in the field of materials science. Here, the state of the art in the field of novel hard materials based on nitrides synthesized reproducibly under high pressure is reviewed.