Hard as a diamond, deformable like a metal

Smartphones with large glass casings and displays are impressive, but they are also prone to cracks and scratches. In order to prevent such damage, a material that combines the hardness of diamond and the deformability of metal would be ideal and indeed is considered the holy grail of structural materials. Professor Gerold Schneider of the Hamburg University of Technology and other Hamburg materials researchers and colleagues in Berkeley, California have now developed a hybrid material, the so-called super crystal, which is the closest thing to achieving this goal.
This material has the potential to make technologies in the fields of electronics, photonics, and energy storage stronger and more cost-effective.


Deformable materials made of nanoparticles
Colleagues from Helmholtz-Centers University and the University of California at Berkeley, led by Professor Gerrod Schneider, discovered that nanoparticles can be arranged in three-dimensional periodic lattice-like atoms and stick to each other Attached. The ultra-thin layer of fatty acids also helped a lot. Because the nanoparticles are made of hard iron oxide, which has a certain degree of corrosion, and the bonding layer is made of liquid oleic acid, the super crystal is hard and easy to deform at the same time, and it is completely compatible with the environment. Ideal for surfaces that suffer from severe wear.
New material concept
Diletta Giuntini, a research assistant at TU, explained: “The plastic deformation of materials such as copper, aluminum, or steel has long been known in research. The fact that this mechanical behavior can also be transferred to high-strength super crystals is completely new.” “As we work We have gained valuable knowledge about how to control the mechanical properties and deformability of super crystals. In the next step, we hope to fine-tune their various components and their interactions, and perfect these hybrid materials to meet various Kinds of application requirements." She continued.

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