Published in Chemistry World, 30 May 2012
An international team of researchers has observed the smallest fullerene to form spontaneously to date using metal atoms for stabilisation. It is now possible that the fullerene, which contains 28 carbon atoms surrounding a single atom of titanium, zirconium or uranium, could be tested for desirable properties such as high-temperature superconductivity, the researchers say.
Fullerenes are molecules containing only carbon – either enclosed as in a sphere, or open-ended as in a nanotube. The first fullerene, buckminsterfullerene, was discovered in 1985 and was a spherical shell containing 60 carbon atoms. Since then, scientists have been interested to create smaller spherical fullerenes. The smaller the fullerenes’ size, the greater their surface curvature, and the more unusual their properties should be. In particular, the spherical fullerene containing 28 carbon atoms, C28, has been predicted to exhibit various exciting properties such as room temperature superconductivity. [...]
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