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Boron phosphide is a compound of boron and phosphorus that is used in high-power applications, such as laser diodes. It is also a promising material for corrosion-resistant coatings and as a photocatalyst.
It is a semiconductor with exceptional optical properties. The band gap is high, close to 0.5 eV. This is much higher than the band gap of silicon, which is 1.0 eV.
Boron phosphide has a hexagonal crystal structure with a lattice thermal conductivity of 56 Wm-1K-1 at 300 K. There are two different polymorphs of boron phosphide: rhombohedral BP (rh-BP) and wurtzite BP (w-BP).
In addition to its exceptional optical properties, boron phosphide has a high electron mobility and is resistant to oxidation up to 1000 degC. However, it is not easily produced in large crystals. Consequently, its properties are not well understood.
Various side reactions are required for the synthesis of BP. One method is to react boron with magnesium metal. A molten base is then heated, which allows for the crystallization of the boron phosphide. Alternatively, high growth temperatures can be used to produce boron-rich phosphides.
Boron phosphide is stable and has a low density. Its crystalline structure is similar to boron carbide. At room temperature, boron phosphide is inert to aqueous alkali solutions. As a result, it can be used as a photocatalyst, allowing for hydrogen to be produced from water. Moreover, its high thermal conductivity makes it an excellent coating material.
Boron phosphide coatings have been tested in erosion tests, as well as in water jet impact measurements. They also show good broad-band transmission, which makes them suitable for use in a range of applications.