Fullerene (C₆₀)

Fullerene (C₆₀)

A crystalline allotrope of carbon which was discovered at the end of the 1980s.

Chemistry

Keywords

fullerene molecule, fullerene, carbon allotrope, allotrope, Nobel Prize, chemistry

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Fullerene C₆₀

Properties

Fullerenes were discovered by Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley in 1985. The discoverers of the C₆₀ molecule were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. Fullerenes are made up of five- and six-member carbon rings. These rings fit on every side.

They were named after the architect-philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller, who built a dome reflecting the structure of the C₆₀ fullerene molecule for the 1967 Montreal World Fair.

The C₆₀ molecule is one of the best known fullerenes; it is formed from 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. Its structure is similar to a football. Every carbon atom is equivalent in the molecule. Due to its structure, it is one of the most stable of the fullerenes. A thin film of C₆₀ is mustard yellow, while a larger mass of it is dark brown.

Its fluoration occurs slowly, at a temperature of 70 °C (158 °F), through numerous colorful, partly fluorated intermediate products. There are also fullerenes with smaller and higher atomic numbers but they are less stable.

Occurrence and production

There are several possible procedures for fullerene production. One possible method is the combustion of hydrocarbons and the extraction of fullerenes from the smoke. Molecules can be produced with an electric arc between graphite electrodes or by using radio frequency plasma. C₆₀ and C₇₀ fullerenes have also been detected in certain natural minerals.

Uses

Fullerene is used for making layers of diamond hardness or as a catalyst during oil refining. It can be used in medical science, for instance as an MRI contrast agent.

One important property of fullerenes is that they form superconductors with metal ions. The price of C₆₀ has dropped significantly (to one one-hundredth of the original price) but it is still very expensive, which limits the possibilities for its use.

Fullerene C₆₀

Properties

Fullerenes were discovered by Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley in 1985. The discoverers of the C₆₀ molecule were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. Fullerenes are made up of five- and six-member carbon rings. These rings fit on every side.

They were named after the architect-philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller, who built a dome reflecting the structure of the C₆₀ fullerene molecule for the 1967 Montreal World Fair.

The C₆₀ molecule is one of the best known fullerenes; it is formed from 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. Its structure is similar to a football. Every carbon atom is equivalent in the molecule. Due to its structure, it is one of the most stable of the fullerenes. A thin film of C₆₀ is mustard yellow, while a larger mass of it is dark brown.

Its fluoration occurs slowly, at a temperature of 70 °C (158 °F), through numerous colorful, partly fluorated intermediate products. There are also fullerenes with smaller and higher atomic numbers but they are less stable.

Occurrence and production

There are several possible procedures for fullerene production. One possible method is the combustion of hydrocarbons and the extraction of fullerenes from the smoke. Molecules can be produced with an electric arc between graphite electrodes or by using radio frequency plasma. C₆₀ and C₇₀ fullerenes have also been detected in certain natural minerals.

Uses

Fullerene is used for making layers of diamond hardness or as a catalyst during oil refining. It can be used in medical science, for instance as an MRI contrast agent.

One important property of fullerenes is that they form superconductors with metal ions. The price of C₆₀ has dropped significantly (to one one-hundredth of the original price) but it is still very expensive, which limits the possibilities for its use.

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