Fullerene molecules. Fullerenes are structural types (allotropes) of carbon. The three molecules at centre are buckminsterfullerenes (buckyballs) and have 60 carbon atoms arranged in a spherical structure consisting of interlinking hexagonal and pentagonal rings. The fullerene at right is a cylindrical fullerene (carbon nanotube) that has been bent to form a circular torus shape. Theoretically, a wide range of molecular shapes can be engineered at the molecular level using fullerenes. Such structures are being investigated for a wide range of technological and medical uses.
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