The Scientific Significance of Buckyball

The Free essays given on our site were donated by anonymous users and should not be viewed as samples of our custom writing service. You are welcome to use them to inspire yourself for writing your own term paper. If you need a custom term paper related to the subject of Chemistry or The Scientific Significance of Buckyball, you can hire a professional writer here in just a few clicks.
The Scientific Significance of Buckyballs by ??????????????? Chemistry ??? Section ??? General Chemistry Prof. ????????????? Spring 199? Until the mid-1980's, elemental carbon was believed only to exhibit two main allotropic forms, diamond and graphite, both of which are covalent-network solids. However, Nobel Prize winning research conducted in the United States and Europe has confirmed the existence of a third previously unknown form of carbon- buckminsterfullerene (C60). The discovery of buckminsterfullerenes, named after Richard Buckminster Fuller, an architect who explored similar shapes in "geodesic" domes made from glass and metal, or buckyballs as they are more commonly referred to, was made at Rice University, Texas in 1985, during experiments to investigate carbon clusters formed by laser ablation of graphite (Pool 1996). The discovery's significance was clear from the beginning. "It is hard to identify any other recent finding in chemistry that has stimulated such intense and diverse activity throughout the physical sciences" (Ball 1996). It was clear that the discovery of C60 and the related carbon-cage clusters, collectively known as fullerenes, "would change organic chemistry and materials science" (Ball 1996 p. 561). The conceptual beginning of fullerene science was early as 1966, when David Jones (writing under the pseudonym Daedalus ) speculated about a curved form of graphite similar to geodesic cages (Kroto 1993). However the study of fullerenes was not fully undertaken until the research conducted by Harold W. Kroto of the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom and Richard E Smalley and Robert F. Curl Jr. Of the Rice University in Houston. Prior to the discovery, researchers knew of only two naturally occurring forms of carbon: graphite, a soft, black slippery solid in which neighboring carbon atoms are arranged in parallel sheets of hexagons held together by London forces, and diamond: a clear hard solid in which neighboring carbons are grouped into pyramids forming a covalent network (Service 1996). Kroto who was studying the formation of long-chain carbon molecules, called cyanopolyynes, in interstellar space was interested in producing them in a lab. Smalley and Curl had developed a unique machine, that they were using to study semiconductor clusters, which vaporized small pieces of material using a laser and using a stream of helium gas swept the resulting plasma stream along a high-speed in which molecules and clusters of varying size would form. Working together they began experimenting with graphite. After several days experimenting with and vaporizing graphite, the chemists had found the long chains of carbon atoms that Kroto was looking for. However they had also discovered something else (Pool 1996). Mass spectrometer readings of the vaporized carbon showed some particularly interesting data. The mass spectrum exhibited some peaks corresponding to clusters of carbon atoms with an atomic mass of 720 amu. This molecule consisting of 60 atoms exhibited properties of being extremely unreactive and unusually stable. But how could this be? "Sheets and pyramids of carbon are only stable when laced together in huge, continuous structures- a diamond for instance. When a carbon structure has as few as 60 atoms, the many dangling bonds at the edges of the sheet or pyramid make the structure highly reactive" (Service 1996). The only explanation for such a molecule would be the structure of the fullerene, a closed carbon-cage molecule containing only pentagonal and hexagonal rings (Fowler 1995). The fullerene hypothesis, as it was known, answered questions concerning the molecules thermodynamic stability. However, the famous soccer ball shape, technically known as a truncated icosahedron, was not fully accepted and many scientist were skeptical. But all doubts concerning the structure were laid to rest when in 1990 a team of physicists- led by Donald Huffman of the University of Arizona and Wolfgang Krtschmer of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany- succeeded in synthesizing measurable quantities of fullerenes thereby isolating and characterizing representatives of the fullerene family (Fowler 1995). Huffman and Krtschmer found that an appreciable amount of buckyballs could be prepared by electrically evaporating graphite in an atmosphere of helium gas. Discovered in the soot were the C 60 molecules, confirming the structure, and a related molecule, C70, for which an egg-shaped geometry was proposed (Kroto 1993) . It was this follow up discovery to the research conducted by Kroto, Smalley and Curl that allowed fullerene science to blossom. The fact that buckyballs can superconduct, lubricate, and absorb light, promises many applications. Research has been able to alter the fullerene cages. They have filled them with other atoms, chemically modified their surfaces , and elongated them in to tubes and rods (Wu 1996). Superconduction is one of the astonishing applications of the fullerene. Films of solid C60 have been doped with alkali metals are able to superconduct at up to 33 degrees Kelvin, 20 K above the previous record for a molecular superconductor (Ball 1996). They have also used buckyballs as cages to enclose atoms. Researchers have discovered ways to both insert atoms into cages and tack them onto the outside in an effort to make new materials with unique electrical, optical, and magnetic properties (Service 1996). They have also learned to modify the buckyball production process to create swollen spheres with many more than 60 carbon atoms. Another advance made, using what they have learned about fullerenes, was the creation of "bucky-tubes"- long cylinders that could be used in superstrong compo

Our inspirational collection of essays and research papers is available for free to our registered users

Related Essays on Chemistry

Carbon Dioxide

The Greenhouse Effect The greenhouse effect occurs when gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and CFCs trap heat in the atmosphere by acting as a pane of glass in a car...

read more

Why is knowledge of chemistry important to biology? Maier, Scott Advanced biology 10/7/99 Biology is the study of all living things and chemistry is the study of chemicals and their int...

read more
Chemistry And Without It!

What would the world be like without chemistry? In some way it could be good and in others it would be bad. We would be without so many good and also bad things if we didn t have it and we can t le...

read more
How To Become A Chemist

Becoming a chemist takes a lot of hard work and discipline. One very importan aspect of being a chemist is English, Comunication is of the utter most importance (Murphy). As well as havin...

read more
A Cosmetic Chemist

Introduction: Since Ancient civilizations women have been using cosmetics to better their appearances. Over the centuries they evolved into what they are today. You can look into a girls medicine ca...

read more
Move The Exams

There are two types of college students. Ones who were sent to college with mom s and dad s money and the others who work their way through school. There is no doubt that the stress that coming wi...

read more