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How Science Invented a Remarkable New Harder-Than-Diamond Nanomaterial

• http://www.wired.com, By Nathan Hurst
 Yes, it’s an oft-misstated “fact”: Diamond is the hardest material in the world. That title has been contested for some time now, and a paper published this month in Nature offers yet another contender.

“Ultrahard nanotwinned cubic boron nitride,” describes how researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of New Mexico, Yanshan University, Jilin University, and Hebei University of Technology compressed a form of boron nitride particles to an ultrahard version.

The transparent nuggets that resulted rivaled — and even exceeded — diamond in their hardness, according to tests run by the researchers. With a Vickers score of 108 GPa, it surpasses synthetic diamond (100 GPa) and more than doubles the hardness of commercial forms of cubic boron nitride.

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