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Above: diamond Below: carbon. Notice how the structure of the two allotropes vary, even though they are bothmade of the same carbon atoms (black)

Images from The Austrailian Academy of Science

Diamond and graphite are not the only known allotropes pf carbon, chaoit and carbon(VI), discovered in 1968 and1972, respectively, have also been found. Even more recently, the Buckminsterfullerenes, the subject of this module, were discoveredat Rice by Smalley, Kroto,and Curl. Buckminsterfullerenes is actually a class of allotropes

Above: C540 Below: C60 Both of these are different allotropes of carbon. C60 is the most common and the mostpopularized of the Buckminsterfullerenes. Not shown is the second most common Buckyball, C70 .

The Icosahedral Fullerene C540

In fact, scientists have now discovered hundreds of buckyballs of different sizes, all with the trademarkspherical-like shape. To differentiate them, each allotrope is denoted as C (for carbon) with the number of carbon atoms in thesubscript (i.e. C80). Technically, the geometrical shapes that these buckyballs share are actually known as geodesics, or rather,polyhedrons that approximate spheres. Specifically, the commonly depicted C60 buckyball is a truncated icosahedron. A moresatisfactory representation of it can be had in a soccer ball, with which it shares the exact same shape. It is made up of 12pentagons, each surrounded by 5 hexagons (20 in all).

The discovery

British chemist Harold W. Kroto at the University of Sussex was studying strange chains of carbon atomsfound in space through microwave spectroscopy, a science that studies the absorption spectra of stellar particles billions ofkilometers away to identify what compounds are found in space. This is possible because every element radiates a specific frequency oflight that is unique to that element, which can observed using radiotelescopes. The elements can then be identified because a fundamental rule of matter stating that the intrinsic properties ofelements apply throughout the universe, which means that the elements will emit the same frequency regardless of where they arefound in the universe. Kroto took spectroscopic readings near carbon-rich red giants, or old stars with very large radii andrelatively low surface temperatures, and compared them to spectrum lines of well-characterized substances. He identified the dust tobe made of long alternating chains of carbon and nitrogen atoms known as cynopolyynes, which are also found in interstellar clouds.However Kroto believed that the chains were formed in the stellar atmospheres of red giants and not in interstellar clouds, but hehad to study the particles more closely.

At the same time, Richard Smalley was doing research on cluster chemistry, at Rice University in Houston,Texas. “Clusters” are aggregates of atoms or molecules, between microscopic and macroscopic sizes, that exist briefly. Smalley hadbeen studying clusters of metal atoms with the help of Robert Curl, using an apparatus Smalley had in his laboratory. Thislaser-supersonic cluster beam apparatus had the ability to vaporize nearly any known material into plasma using a laser, which is ahighly concentrated beam of light with extremely high energy.

Questions & Answers

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
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
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?
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?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Nanomaterials and nanotechnology. OpenStax CNX. May 07, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10700/1.13
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