GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A scientist prepares to produce Buckyballs. A Buckyball is the nickname for a fullerene, a ball- shaped hollow molecule of over 36 carbon atoms. The first of the fullerenes, buckminsterfullerene, has 60 carbon atoms arranged as an icosahedron. It is produced by creating an electric arc between two graphite rod electrodes in a helium atmosphere at 100 torr (about 1/7th atmosphere). Before this simple method was devised by Jonathan Hare (seen here) C60 had only been observed after bombarding a carbon target with a powerful pulsed laser. C60 is isolated from the general soot by dissolving in benzene.
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