Osmium borides

Osmium borides are compounds of osmium and boron. Their most remarkable property is potentially high hardness. It is thought that a combination of high electron density of osmium with the strength of boron-osmium covalent bonds will make osmium borides superhard materials. This has not been demonstrated yet. For example, OsB2 is hard (hardness comparable to that of sapphire), but not superhard.[1]


Osmium borides are produced in vacuum or inert atmosphere to prevent formation of osmium tetroxide, which is a hazardous compound. Synthesis occurs at high temperatures (~1000 °C) from a mixture of MgB2 and OsCl3.[1]


Three osmium borides are known: OsB, Os2B3 and OsB2. The first two have hexagonal structure,[2] similar to that of rhenium diboride. Osmium diboride was first also sought as hexagonal,[3] but its structure was later reassigned to orthorhombic.[1][4]


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