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Above: diamond Below: carbon. Notice how the structure of the two allotropes vary, even though they are bothmade of the same carbon atoms (black)

Images from The Austrailian Academy of Science

Diamond and graphite are not the only known allotropes pf carbon, chaoit and carbon(VI), discovered in 1968 and1972, respectively, have also been found. Even more recently, the Buckminsterfullerenes, the subject of this module, were discoveredat Rice by Smalley, Kroto,and Curl. Buckminsterfullerenes is actually a class of allotropes

Above: C540 Below: C60 Both of these are different allotropes of carbon. C60 is the most common and the mostpopularized of the Buckminsterfullerenes. Not shown is the second most common Buckyball, C70 .

The Icosahedral Fullerene C540

In fact, scientists have now discovered hundreds of buckyballs of different sizes, all with the trademarkspherical-like shape. To differentiate them, each allotrope is denoted as C (for carbon) with the number of carbon atoms in thesubscript (i.e. C80). Technically, the geometrical shapes that these buckyballs share are actually known as geodesics, or rather,polyhedrons that approximate spheres. Specifically, the commonly depicted C60 buckyball is a truncated icosahedron. A moresatisfactory representation of it can be had in a soccer ball, with which it shares the exact same shape. It is made up of 12pentagons, each surrounded by 5 hexagons (20 in all).

The discovery

British chemist Harold W. Kroto at the University of Sussex was studying strange chains of carbon atomsfound in space through microwave spectroscopy, a science that studies the absorption spectra of stellar particles billions ofkilometers away to identify what compounds are found in space. This is possible because every element radiates a specific frequency oflight that is unique to that element, which can observed using radiotelescopes. The elements can then be identified because a fundamental rule of matter stating that the intrinsic properties ofelements apply throughout the universe, which means that the elements will emit the same frequency regardless of where they arefound in the universe. Kroto took spectroscopic readings near carbon-rich red giants, or old stars with very large radii andrelatively low surface temperatures, and compared them to spectrum lines of well-characterized substances. He identified the dust tobe made of long alternating chains of carbon and nitrogen atoms known as cynopolyynes, which are also found in interstellar clouds.However Kroto believed that the chains were formed in the stellar atmospheres of red giants and not in interstellar clouds, but hehad to study the particles more closely.

At the same time, Richard Smalley was doing research on cluster chemistry, at Rice University in Houston,Texas. “Clusters” are aggregates of atoms or molecules, between microscopic and macroscopic sizes, that exist briefly. Smalley hadbeen studying clusters of metal atoms with the help of Robert Curl, using an apparatus Smalley had in his laboratory. Thislaser-supersonic cluster beam apparatus had the ability to vaporize nearly any known material into plasma using a laser, which is ahighly concentrated beam of light with extremely high energy.

Questions & Answers

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?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Nanotechnology: content and context. OpenStax CNX. May 09, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10418/1.1
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