Optical Characterization of Boron Carbide Powders Synthesized with Varying B-To-C Ratios


Boron carbide powders were synthesized from elemental powders and studied using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and UV–visible diffuse reflectance, Raman, and diffuse reflectance IR spectroscopies. Following reaction at 1400°C for 6 h, synthesized powders exhibited possible faulting as suggested by XRD patterns. B3C, B4.3C, and B5C powders contained graphitic carbon whereas the boron carbides with higher B/C ratios contained no residual carbon, suggesting that the carbon rich phase boundary is likely temperature dependent. Analysis by Raman and IR spectroscopy suggested that Raman spectra are influenced by excitation frequency due to resonance. We suggest that measurement of boron carbides with resonant Raman lifts the selection rules to allow measurement of Raman silent modes that are present in the IR spectra. Optical reflectance of the boron carbide powders revealed that the B/C ratio governed the indirect and direct optical band gaps of the faulted powders. B3C and B4.3C powders were light gray in spite of the presence of the carbon, whereas B5C, B6.5C, B10C, and B12C were gray, green, brown, and dark brown, respectively. Increasing carbon content increased the optical indirect band gap from 1.3 eV for B12C to 3.2 eV for B3C, causing the observed color changes.


Materials Science and Engineering


National Science Foundation, Grant DMR 0906584

Keywords and Phrases

Boron Carbide; Diffuse Reflectance; Drift Spectroscopy; Optical Band Gap; Raman

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1551-2916; 0002-7820

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Mar 2023