Discovery of a superhard iron tetraboride superconductor

Huiyang Gou, Natalia Dubrovinskaia, Elena Bykova, Alexander A. Tsirlin, Deepa Kasinathan, Walter Schnelle, Asta Richter, Marco Merlini, Michael Hanfland, Artem M. Abakumov, Dmitry Batuk, Gustaaf Van Tendeloo, Yoichi Nakajima, Aleksey N. Kolmogorov, Leonid Dubrovinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


Single crystals of novel orthorhombic (space group Pnnm) iron tetraboride FeB4 were synthesized at pressures above 8 GPa and high temperatures. Magnetic susceptibility and heat capacity measurements demonstrate bulk superconductivity below 2.9 K. The putative isotope effect on the superconducting critical temperature and the analysis of specific heat data indicate that the superconductivity in FeB4 is likely phonon mediated, which is rare for Fe-based superconductors. The discovered iron tetraboride is highly incompressible and has the nanoindentation hardness of 62(5) GPa; thus, it opens a new class of highly desirable materials combining advanced mechanical properties and superconductivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157002
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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