MICHAEL W. DAVIDSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL W. DAVIDSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Buckyballs. Polarised Light Micrograph of a thin film containing crystals of buckyballs (C60). Buckyballs or Buckminsterfullerene molecules are a novel form of pure carbon. Here, crystals containing these large C-60 molecules appear as grains on this smooth film surface. The molecule was first described by Huffman et al in 1990 & consists of 60 carbon atoms packed in an icosahedral pattern similar to that of a panelled football. It derives its name from Richard Buckminster Fuller, the architect & engineer who utilised icosahedral geometry in his geodesic domes. Subsequent research has provided a family of fullerenes including C70, C240, C540 & C960.
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