Materials combining the hardness and strength of diamond with the higher thermal stability of cubic boron nitride (cBN) have broad potential value in science and engineering. Reacting nanodiamond with cBN at moderate pressures and high temperatures provides a pathway to such materials. Here we report the fabrication of C x-BN nanocomposites, measuring up to 10 mm in longest dimension, by reacting nanodiamond with pre-synthesized cBN in a large-volume press. The nanocomposites consist of randomly-oriented diamond and cBN domains stitched together by sp 3-hybridized C-B and C-N bonds, leading to p-type semiconductivity. Dislocations near the sutures accommodate lattice mismatch between diamond and cBN. Nanotwinning within both diamond and cBN domains further contributes to a bulk hardness ∼50% higher than sintered cBN. The nanocomposite of C 2-BN exhibits p-type semiconductivity with low activation energy and high thermal stability, making it a functional, ultrahard substance.
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