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What are Fullerenes?

by Team Goseeko


Fullerenes are a form of carbon atoms, and also it is a molecule that is largely spheroidal in shape. The structure consists of a hollow cage containing 60 or more atoms, of which Buckminsterfullerene  is the finest example.

A fullerene is formed by  removing carbon atoms one-by-one from the edge of the graphene sheet. The carbon atoms of pentagon shape then form or fold at the edge of the sheet allowing the graphene sheet to curve into a bowl shape.

Fullerenes consist of 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal rings as the basis of an icosahedral symmetry closed cage structure. Each carbon atom is bonded to three others and is sp2 hybridized.

The C60 molecule has two bond lengths – the 6:6 ring bonds can be considered “double bonds”  and are shorter than the 6:5 bonds.C60 is not “super aromatic” as it tends to avoid double bonds in the pentagonal rings, resulting in poor electron delocalization. As a result, C60 behaves like an electron deficient alkene, and reacts readily with electron rich species.

Fullerenes properties 

  1. They show unique properties , which make them useful in photoresistors, organic photodetectors and hard carbon masks.
  2. Additionally all fullerenes have a structure similarly to graphite where each carbon atom forms single covalent bonds with three neighbouring carbon atoms. These can move throughout the fullerene, allowing conduction of electricity.
  3. These nanostructures have an effective advantage in the modification of the surface and the body of inorganic and organic materials. 
  4. The  important feature of the use of fullerene is their unique energy levels, and electron affinity.

A fullerene is an allotrope of carbon atoms its molecule consists of carbon atoms that show connection by single and double bonds ,so as to form a closed or partially closed mesh, with fused rings of five to seven atoms.

Therefore ,Cylindrical fullerenes are also called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes.

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