Intersectional nanotwinned diamond-the hardest polycrystalline diamond by design

JW Xiao and B Wen and B Xu and XY Zhang and YB Wang and YJ Tian, NPJ COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS, 6, 119 (2020).

DOI: 10.1038/s41524-020-00387-3

The hardness of nanotwinned diamond (nt-diamond) is reported to be more than twice that of the natural diamond, thanks to the fine spaces between twin boundaries (TBs), which block dislocation propagation during deformation. In this work, we explore the effects of additional TBs in nt-diamond using molecular dynamics (MD) calculations and introduce a novel intersectional nanotwinned diamond (int-diamond) template for future laboratory synthesis. The hardness of this int- diamond is predicted by first analyzing individual dislocation slip modes in twinned grains and then calculating the bulk properties based on the Sachs model. Here we show that the hardness of the int-diamond is much higher than that of nt-diamond. The hardening mechanism of int- diamond is attributed to the increased critical resolved shear stress due to the presence of intersectional TBs in nt-diamond; this result is further verified by MD simulations. This work provides a new strategy for designing new super-hard materials in experiments.

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