A method for fabricating thin films of an icosahedral boride on a silicon carbide (SiC) substrate is provided. Preferably the icosahedral boride layer is comprised of either boron phosphide (B.sub.12 P.sub.2) or boron arsenide (B.sub.12 As.sub.2). The provided method achieves improved film crystallinity and lowered impurity concentrations. In one aspect, an epitaxially grown layer of B.sub.12 P.sub.2 with a base layer or substrate of SiC is provided. In another aspect, an epitaxially grown layer of B.sub.12 As.sub.2 with a base layer or substrate of SiC is provided. In yet another aspect, thin films of B.sub.12 P.sub.2 or B.sub.12 As.sub.2 are formed on SiC using CVD or other vapor deposition means. If CVD techniques are employed, preferably the deposition temperature is above 1050.degree. C., more preferably in the range of 1100.degree. C. to 1400.degree. C., and still more preferably approximately 1150.degree. C.
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.