Nucleation and Growth of Icosahedral Boron Suboxide Clusters at High Pressure

Paul F. McMillan, Hervé Hubert, Andrew Chizmeshya, William Petuskey, Laurence Garvie, Bertrand Devouard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The stoichiometry of boron suboxide (B6O1-δ) synthesized from mixtures of boron and boron oxide (B2O3) at high pressure lies closer to the nominal composition (δ=0) than materials obtained at atmospheric pressure. The materials obtained in the high pressure syntheses in the presence of molten B2O3 also have a higher degree of crystallinity than for sintered powders. For syntheses at temperatures of 1700-1800°C at pressures between 4 and approximately 5.5 GPa, the well-crystallized particles are dominated by icosahedral multiply-twinned particles up to approximately 40 μm in diameter. This unusual morphology is obtained by Mackay packing, i.e., by assembly of successive shells of icosahedral B12 units around a central icosahedral nucleus to give a multiply twinned particle in which each of the 20 elements has the R3m space group of the rhombohedral α-B structure. We examine the thermodynamic and kinetic factors associated with the development of this morphology during high pressure growth and use ab initio calculations to investigate the energetic driving forces for initiation of the Mackay packing around the central icosahedral nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Solid State Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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