Alternative approaches to evaluating the hardness and elastic properties of materials exhibiting physical properties comparable to pure diamond have recently become necessary. The classic linear relationship between shear modulus (G) and Vickers hardness (H V), along with more recent non-linear formulations based on Pugh's modulus extending into the superhard region (H V > 40 GPa) have guided synthesis and identification of novel superabrasives. These schemes rely on accurately quantifying H V of diamond-like materials approaching or potentially exceeding the hardness of the diamond indenter, leading to debate about methodology and the very definition of hardness. Elasticity measurements on such materials are equally challenging. Here we used a high-precision, GHz-ultrasonic interferometer in conjunction with a newly developed optical contact micrometer and 3D optical microscopy of indentations to evaluate elasticity-hardness relations in the ultrahard range (H V > 80 GPa) by examining single-crystal boron-doped diamond (BDD) with boron contents ranging from 50-3000 ppm. We observe a drastic elastic-mechanical softening in highly doped BDD relative to the trends observed for superhard materials, providing insight into elasticity-hardness relations for ultrahard materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas