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aluminium dodecaboride (AlB12) is one of the hardest chemical compounds known. It is a member of the aluminium-boron system of superhard materials and has good mechanical properties such as high hardness, low melting point and stable chemical properties [1]. It has been applied as an important component for composite materials in industry, as well as an energetic material for nuclear propulsion fuels and neutron shielding.

X-ray diffraction analysis of the coarse powder prepared by self-propagation with Mg, Al and B2O3 as raw materials shows that the purity of the self-propagated product is not high even after acid wash. This is mainly due to the unremovable MgAl2O4 impurities in the Al and B compounds. This is also confirmed by elemental analysis results of the acid wash products, which show that MgO and Mg3B2O6 are the main components in the coarse powder after pickling.

The XPS spectrum of the buried surface in the AlB12 crystals exhibits a strong peak at 73 eV, which is consistent with the binding energy of Mo-Al-B, indicating that the atomic sequence of the layers of the layered ternary boride has been maintained. The contrast image of the buried layer shows a double layer of bright dots distributed at a distance of 0.5 m from the atoms of MoB, indicating that the intercalation of aluminium into the boron-boron structure of MoAlB has occurred in stepwise fashion.

In addition, the XPS spectrum of the buried layer of the crystalline powder reveals that the boron content of the deposited atomic layers is high, which is confirmed by the analysis of the atomic composition in the buried layer using a scanning electron microscope with an EDS detector. The findings support the hypothesis that the atomic sequence of the layers of layered ternary boride is preserved in this crystalline powder, which explains its excellent mechanical properties.

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