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Although nanomaterials had been known for many years prior to the report of C 60 the field of nanoscale science was undoubtedly founded upon this seminal discovery. Part of the reason for this explosion in nanochemistry is that while carbon materials range from well-defined nano sized molecules (i.e., C 60 ) to tubes with lengths of hundreds of microns, they do not exhibit the instabilities of other nanomaterials as a result of the very high activation barriers to their structural rearrangement. As a consequence they are highly stable even in their unfunctionalized forms. Despite this range of carbon nanomaterials possible they exhibit common reaction chemistry: that of organic chemistry.

The previously unknown allotrope of carbon: C 60 , was discovered in 1985, and in 1996, Curl, Kroto, and Smalley were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery. The other allotropes of carbon are graphite (sp 2 ) and diamond (sp 3 ). C 60 , commonly known as the “buckyball” or “Buckminsterfullerene”, has a spherical shape comprising of highly pyramidalized sp 2 carbon atoms. The C 60 variant is often compared to the typical soccer football, hence buckyball. However, confusingly, this term is commonly used for higher derivatives. Fullerenes are similar in sheet structure to graphite but they contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings that prevent the sheet from being planar. The unusual structure of C 60 led to the introduction of a new class of molecules known as fullerenes, which now constitute the third allotrope of carbon. Fullerenes are commonly defined as “any of a class of closed hollow aromatic carbon compounds that are made up of twelve pentagonal and differing numbers of hexagonal faces.”

The number of carbon atoms in a fullerene range from C 60 to C 70 , C 76 , and higher. Higher order fullerenes include carbon nanotubes that can be described as fullerenes that have been stretched along a rotational axis to form a tube. As a consequence of differences in the chemistry of fullerenes such as C 60 and C 70 as compared to nanotubes, these will be dealt with separately herein. In addition there have also been reports of nanohorns and nanofibers, however, these may be considered as variations on the general theme. It should be noted that fullerenes and nanotubes have been shown to be in flames produced by hydrocarbon combustion. Unfortunately, these naturally occurring varieties can be highly irregular in size and quality, as well as being formed in mixtures, making them unsuitable for both research and industrial applications.


Carbon-60 (C 60 ) is probably the most studied individual type of nanomaterial. The spherical shape of C 60 is constructed from twelve pentagons and twenty hexagons and resembles a soccer ball ( [link] a). The next stable higher fullerene is C 70 ( [link] b) that is shaped like a rugby or American football. The progression of higher fullerenes continues in the sequence C 74 , C 76 , C 78 , etc. The structural relationship between each involves the addition of six membered rings. Mathematically (and chemically) two principles define the existence of a stable fullerene, i.e., Euler’s theorem and isolated pentagon rule (IPR). Euler’s theorem states that for the closure of each spherical network, n (n ≥ 2) hexagons and 12 pentagons are required while the IPR says no two pentagons may be connected directly with each other as destabilization is caused by two adjacent pentagons.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?

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Source:  OpenStax, Nanomaterials and nanotechnology. OpenStax CNX. May 07, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10700/1.13
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