International collaboration at FIU leads to discovery of new single-element compound

MIAMI (Jan. 28, 2009) Florida International University researchers have discovered a new single-element compound, a breakthrough that could rewrite chemistry books.

The Center for the Study of Matters at Extreme Condition (CeSMEC) at FIU led an international group of scientists that synthesized and characterized a single-element compound, Boron Boride (B28).

The classic definition of a chemical compound is a substance consisting of two or more different elements chemically bonded together in a fixed proportion by mass. The new compound differs from that definition in that it is made up of just one element, formed by pure boron under high pressure and temperature (above 120,000 atmospheres and 1,400 degrees Celsius).

Jiuhua Chen, a professor with the Mechanical and Materials Science Department of FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing and associate director of CeSMEC, initiated the research project and the international effort that resulted in the discovery. The international effort included three other teams led by Artem R. Oganov (theoretical crystallographer from Stony Brook University), Carlo Gatti (theoretical chemist from the University of Milano in Italy), and Vladimir Solozhenko (physical chemist from Centre national de la recherche scientifique/CNRS in France).

“This has brought us a new understanding of elements,” Chen said. “Without the collaboration of scientists, especially between experimentalists and theoreticians, this discovery would not be possible.”

The team’s research is detailed in the latest issue of Nature. To read the full article please visit

The research at FIU is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Media contact: Madeline Baró at 305-348-2234

About FIU:Florida International University was founded in 1965 and is Miami’s only public research university. With a student body of more than 38,000, FIU graduates more Hispanics than any other university in the country. Its 17 colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations and law. FIU has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “High Research Activity University.” In 2006 FIU was authorized to establish a medical school, which will welcome its first class in 2009. FIU’s College of Law recently received accreditation in the fastest time allowed by the American Bar Association.< >< ><–>

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