Structure and superconductivity in Zr-stabilized, nonstoichiometric molybdenum diboride

L. E. Muzzy, M. Avdeev, G. Lawes, M. K. Haas, H. W. Zandbergen, A. P. Ramirez, J. D. Jorgensen, R. J. Cava

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The structure and physical properties of the Zr-stabilized, nonstoichiometric molybdenum diboride superconductor are reported. Good quality material of the diboride structure type can only be obtained by partial substitution of Zr for Mo, and quenching of melts. The diboride phase is best made with boron in excess of the ideal 2:1 boron to metal ratio. Powder neutron diffraction measurements show that the nonstoichiometry is accommodated by atom deficiency in the metal layers. The diboride structure type exists for (Mo0.96Zr0.04)xB2 for 1.0≥x≥0.85. Electron diffraction shows that the stoichiometric material, x=1, has a significant number of stacking faults. Tc increases from 5.9 to 8.2 K with the introduction of metal vacancies. Resistivity measurements indicate that (Mo0.96Zr0.04)0.88B2 is a bad metal, and specific heat measurements show its electronic density of states (DOS) is γ=4.4 mJ/molK2, and that ΔC/γTc=1.19. Preliminary boron isotope effect measurements indicate an exponent α=0.11±0.05. Analysis of the data in terms of the electronic structure is reported, allowing an estimate of the electron-phonon coupling constant, λ≈0.1-0.3, making these weak-coupling superconductors. Preliminary characterizations of the superconductivity in the related phases NbxB2 and (Mo0.96X0.04)0.85B2 for X=Ti and Hf are reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalPhysica C: Superconductivity and its applications
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Crystal structure
  • Electron microscopy
  • Electronic structure
  • Intermetallic superconductor
  • Isotope effect
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Specific heat


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