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Molecular structures of (a) C 60 and (b) C 70 .

Although fullerenes are composed of sp 2 carbons in a similar manner to graphite, fullerenes are soluble in various common organic solvents. Due to their hydrophobic nature, fullerenes are most soluble in CS 2 (C 60 = 7.9 mg/mL) and toluene (C 60 = 2.8 mg/mL). Although fullerenes have a conjugated system, their aromaticity is distinctive from benzene that has all C-C bonds of equal lengths, in fullerenes two distinct classes of bonds exist. The shorter bonds are at the junctions of two hexagons ([6, 6] bonds) and the longer bonds at the junctions of a hexagon and a pentagon ([5,6]bonds). This difference in bonding is responsible for some of the observed reactivity of fullerenes.

Synthesis of fullerenes

The first observation of fullerenes was in molecular beam experiments at Rice University. Subsequent studies demonstrated that C 60 it was relatively easy to produce grams of fullerenes. Although the synthesis is relatively straightforward fullerene purification remains a challenge and determines fullerene’s commercial price. The first method of production of measurable quantities of fullerenes used laser vaporization of carbon in an inert atmosphere, but this produced microscopic amounts of fullerenes. Laboratory scales of fullerene are prepared by the vaporization of carbon rods in a helium atmosphere. Commercial production ordinarily employs a simple ac or dc arc. The fullerenes in the black soot collected are extracted in toluene and purified by liquid chromatography. The magenta C 60 comes off the column first, followed by the red C 70 , and other higher fullerenes. Even though the mechanism of a carbon arc differs from that of a resistively heated carbon rod (because it involves a plasma) the He pressure for optimum C 60 formation is very similar.

A ratio between the mass of fullerenes and the total mass of carbon soot defines fullerene yield. The yields determined by UV-Vis absorption are approximately 40%, 10-15%, and 15% in laser, electric arc, and solar processes. Interestingly, the laser ablation technique has both the highest yield and the lowest productivity and, therefore, a scale-up to a higher power is costly. Thus, fullerene commercial production is a challenging task. The world's first computer controlled fullerene production plant is now operational at the MER Corporation, who pioneered the first commercial production of fullerene and fullerene products.

Endohedral fullerenes

Endohedral fullerenes are fullerenes that have incorporated in their inner sphere atoms, ions or clusters. Endohedral fullerenes are generally divided into two groups: endohedral metallofullerenes and non-metal doped fullerenes. The first endohedral metallofullerenes was called La@C 60 . The @ sign in the name reflects the notion of a small molecule trapped inside a shell.

Doping fullerenes with metals takes place in-situ during the fullerene synthesis in an arc reactor or via laser evaporation. A wide range of metals have been encased inside a fullerene, i.e., Sc, Y, La, Ce, Ba, Sr, K, U, Zr, and Hf. Unfortunately, the synthesis of endohedral metallofullerenes is unspecific because in addition a high yield of unfilled fullerenes, compounds with different cage sizes are prepared (e.g., La@C 60 or La@C 82 ). A characteristic of endohedral metallofullerenes is that electrons will transfer from the metal atom to the fullerene cage and that the metal atom takes a position off-center in the cage. The size of the charge transfer is not always simple to determine, but it is usually between 2 and 3 units (e.g., La 2 @C 80 ) but can be as high as 6 electrons (e.g., Sc 3 N@C 80 ). These anionic fullerene cages are very stable molecules and do not have the reactivity associated with ordinary empty fullerenes (see below). This lack of reactivity is utilized in a method to purify endohedral metallofullerenes from empty fullerenes.

Questions & Answers

Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Carbon nanotubes. OpenStax CNX. Sep 30, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11576/1.1
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