Europhys. Lett.
Volume 68, Number 4, November 2004
Page(s) 550 - 556
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 29 October 2004
Europhys. Lett., 68 (4), pp. 550-556 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10235-1

Strain-induced disorder and phase transformation in hexagonal boron nitride under quasi-homogeneous pressure: In situ X-ray study in a rotational diamond anvil cell

V. I. Levitas, J. Hashemi and Y. Z. Ma

Texas Tech University, Center for Mechanochemistry and Synthesis of New Materials, Department of Mechanical Engineering Lubbock, TX 79409-1021, USA

received 26 January 2004; accepted in final form 17 September 2004
published online 29 October 2004

One of the challenges in characterization of strain-induced transformations is to create uniform pressure. In this letter, conditions for nearly homogeneous pressure distribution are predicted and achieved experimentally. Compared to hydrostatic loading, plastic shear generally reduces the transformation pressure significantly. We observed, however, an unexpected phenomenon: the transformation of hexagonal to superhard wurtzitic BN under pressure and shear initiated at a pressure comparable to that in hydrostatic compression ( $\sim 10$ $\un{GPa}$). In situ X-ray diffraction revealed that plastic shear increases the disorder, while hydrostatic compression does not. This increase neutralizes the transition pressure reduction caused by shear. For the same disorder, shear reduced the transformation pressure significantly, and caused a complete, irreversible transformation.

64.60.-i - General studies of phase transitions.
64.70.Kb - Solid-solid transitions.

© EDP Sciences 2004