PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fullerene molecules. Scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) image of fullerene or 'buckyball' molecules on an unknown crystalline substrate. The fullerene molecules are the bright yellow 'peaks', whilst the orange and red lines are rows of atoms in the surface of the substrate. Fullerenes are near-spherical 'cages' of carbon atoms. They are based on 12 pentagonal carbon rings spaced evenly between some number of hexagonal rings in an icosahedral form. The first to be discovered was C60, with 60 carbon atoms, the structure of which resembles a soccer ball.
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