What are nitrides

A Nitride is a chemical compound of an element with nitrogen in the form of triply negatively charged anions (N3-: Nitride anion). A distinction is made between ionic (salt-like), metallic and covalent nitrides (sometimes referred to as diamond-like nitrides).


Most of the technically used nitrides are used for surface finishing. So you use z. B. silicon nitride (Si3N4) as an anti-reflective layer. Metal-like and so-called diamond-like nitrides are used as hard materials, high-temperature and refractory ceramic materials, e.g. B. Titanium Nitride (TiN).

Nitrides are also used in microelectronics. There they are used as diffusion barriers (e.g. tantalum nitride) or passivation layers (especially silicon nitride).

Nitrides of elements of the 3rd main group (AlN, GaN, InN) are III-V semiconductors and are used in electro-optical devices because of their large band gap to generate light with short wavelengths (blue). Requirement for the function of white LEDs.


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Covalent nitrides

  • Boron Nitride (BN): high temperature lubricant and insulation material
  • Aluminum nitride (AlN): substrate material with very good thermal conductivity for power electronics
  • Gallium nitride (GaN): semiconductor material in blue light-emitting diodes
  • Indium nitride (InN)
  • Carbon nitride (C.3N4): Subject of current research, theoretically harder than diamond
  • Silicon nitride (Si3N4): High-strength, high-temperature-resistant technical ceramics
  • Germanium nitride (Ge3N4)
  • Tin (IV) nitride (Sn3N4)
  • Phosphorus nitride (P.3N5)
  • Copper (I) nitride (Cu3N)
  • Calcium nitride (approx3N2)

Metallic nitrides

  • Titanium nitride (TiN): Coating layers on drills, milling cutters, hard metal indexable inserts
  • Tantalum nitride (TaN)
  • Chromium nitride (CrN): tempering of special tools made of chromium
  • Various iron nitride phases, Fe4N, Fe3N1 + x, Fe2N: Significance when nitriding steel
  • Iron (III) nitride (FeN)

Ionic nitrides

  • Lithium nitride (Li3N)
  • Sodium nitride (Na3N)
  • Beryllium nitride (Be3N2)
  • Magnesium nitride (Mg3N2)
  • Calcium nitride (approx3N2)
  • Zinc nitride (Zn3N2)
  • Scandium nitride (ScN)
  • Yttrium nitride (YN)
  • Lanthanum Nitride (LaN)
  • Zirconium (IV) nitride (Zr3N4)
  • Tantalum (V) nitride (Ta3N5)
  • Uranium nitride (UN, U2N3, UN2)
  • Thorium (IV) nitride (Th3N4)

Occurrence of nitrides in nature


Nitridic minerals are extremely rare. They can only form under very low-oxygen conditions. This results from the much higher reactivity of oxygen O2 ("Biradical", dissociation enthalpy 498.67 kJ / mol) compared to the nitrogen N2 (Triple bond, enthalpy of dissociation 946.04 kJ / mol).

  • Roaldite (Fe4N)
  • Siderazot (Fe3N)
  • Osbornite (TiN)
  • Carlsbergite (CrN)
  • Sinoite (Si2ON2)

Categories: Fabric Group | Nitride