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Discovery and applications of fullerenes. Leung Wai Chun F.6B (18). Crystalline form of C 60. What is a Fullerene?. The third allotropic form of carbon material (after graphite and diamond).

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Discovery and applications of fullerenes

Discovery and applications of fullerenes

Leung Wai Chun F.6B (18)

Crystalline form of C60

What is a fullerene
What is a Fullerene?

  • The third allotropic form of carbon material (after graphite and diamond).

  • A class of closed-cage carbon molecule, Cn, characteristically containing 12 pentagons and a variable number of hexagons.

  • <300 carbon atomsbuckyballs, include the buckminsterfullerene, C60.

  • Giant fullerenes include single-shelled or multi-shelled carbon structures, onions, and nanotubes.

From left to right: Diamond, graphite, and fullerene.

A geodesic dome shares the same geometric structure as a buckminsterfullerene.

Discovery of fullerene
Discovery of fullerene

  • In molecular beam experiments, discrete peaks were observed corresponding to molecules with the exact mass of sixty or seventy or more carbon atoms.

  • In 1985, Harold Kroto, James R. Heath, Sean O'Brien, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley discovered C60, and then the other fullerenes.

  • Kroto, Curl, and Smalley were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Harold Kroto and Richard Smalley

Common types of fullerenes discovered
Common types of fullerenes discovered

1. Buckminsterfullerene, C60

  • The smallest fullerene with no two pentagons share an edge

  • Named after Richard Buckminster Fuller, a architect who popularized the geodesic dome.

Structure of C60, similar to a football

Common types of fullerenes discovered1
Common types of fullerenes discovered

2. Nanotubes

  • Cylindrical fullerenes

  • Can range from less than a micrometre to several millimetres in length.

  • high tensile strength, electrical conductivity and resistance to heat,relative chemical inactivity

Rotating animation of nanotube

Applications of fullerenes
Applications of fullerenes

1. Organic Photovoltaics (OPV)

  • Fullerene acts as the n-type semiconductor (electron acceptor)as they are derivitized to increase their solubility.

  • The most commonly used derivative in photovoltaics is C60, but C70 has been shown to have a 25% higher power conversion efficiency than C60.

Applications of fullerenes1
Applications of fullerenes

2. Antioxidants & Biopharmaceuticals

  • Fullerene can sponge-up and neutralize >20free radicals per fullerene molecule.

  • hold great promise in health and personal care applications where prevention of oxidative cell damage or death is desirable.

A skin care cream based on C60

Other applications of fullerenes
Other applications of fullerenes

1. Catalysts

  • Marked ability to accept and to transfer hydrogen atoms; hydrogenation and hydrodealkylations. 

  • Inhibits coking reactions.

    2. Water purification & bio-hazard protection

  • Singlet oxygen catalysis of organics with fullerene C60

    3. Portable power

  • Proton exchange membranes for fuel cells

    4. Vehicles

  • Enhanced durability

    5. Medical

  • MRI agents

Reference websites
Reference Websites