February 4, 2009
An international team of researchers including scientists at the Carnegie Institution has discovered a new chemical compound that consists of a single element―boron. Chemical compounds are conventionally defined as substances consist of two or more elements, but the researchers found that a high pressure and temperature pure boron can assume two distinct forms that bond together to create a novel 'compound' called boron boride.
Crucial to the characterization of the novel compound was infrared spectroscopy, which was carried out at the high-pressure synchrotron infrared beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source run by the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution since 1992. This part of the work was led by Carnegie beamline scientist Zhenxian Liu. In addition, samples were synthesized at the Geophysical Laboratory by former Carnegie post-doctoral fellow, Yanzhang Ma of Texas Tech University.