In Washington, D.C., scientists at NREL; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL); University of Colorado, Boulder (CU); and other partner institutions around the country created a large stability map of the ternary nitrides, highlighting nitride compositions where experimental discovery is promising, and other compositions where nitride formation would be unlikely. For chemists attempting to create new nitrides in the laboratory, this map will be a significantly valuable tool, according to NREL.
Formed when metallic elements combine with nitrogen, nitrides can possess unique properties with potential applications spanning from semiconductors to industrial coatings. One nitride semiconductor served as the cornerstone of a Nobel Prize-winning technology for light-emitting diodes (LEDs). But before nitrides can be put to use, they first must be discovered—and now, researchers have a map to guide them, according to NREL.
“Certainly, these materials have many possible new functional applications,” Wenhao Sun, lead author of the paper and staff scientist at LBNL, said. “Some of them are semiconductors and others might be superconductors. Many of them might have applications we haven’t even dreamed of yet. There are a lot of directions for this to go.”