We have recently undertaken comprehensive computational studies predicting possible crystal structures of the as yet unknown phosphorus carbide as a function of composition. In this work, we report the synthesis of amorphous phosphorus–carbon films by pulsed laser deposition. The local bonding environments of carbon and phosphorus in the synthesised materials have been analysed by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; we have found strong evidence for the formation of direct P–C bonding and hence phosphorus carbide. There is a good agreement between the bonding environments found in this phosphorus carbide material and those predicted in the computational work. In particular, the local bonding environments are consistent with those found in the β-InS-like structures that we predict to be low in energy for phosphorus:carbon ratios between 0.25 and 1.
- Phosphorus carbide
- Pulsed laser deposition
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy