Fullerene is an allotrope of carbon. Any kind of substances, consisted of carbon elements only and formed with spherical, elliptical or tubular structure, can be called fullerenes. The structure of fullerene is similar to that of graphite, the difference is that five-membered rings exist in the fullerene, while only six membered rings in graphite. The first fullerene molecule to be discovered and prepared in 1985 by Richard Smalley, Robert Curl, James Heath, Sean O’Brien, and Harold Kroto at Rice University. The name was a homage to Buckminster Fuller, whose geodesic domes it resembles.
Buckminsterfullerene is the smallest fullerene molecule containing pentagonal and hexagonal rings in which no two pentagons share an edge (which can be destabilizing, as in pentalene). It is also the most common in terms of natural occurrence, as it can often be found in soot.
The structure of C60 is a truncated icosahedron, which resembles an association football ball of the type made of twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons, with a carbon atom at the vertices of each polygon and a bond along each polygon edge. The van der Waals diameter of a C60 molecule is about 1.1 nanometers (nm). The nucleus to nucleus diameter of a C60 molecule is about 0.71 nm.
The C60 molecule has two bond lengths. The 6:6 ring bonds (between two hexagons) can be considered "double bonds" and are shorter than the 6:5 bonds (between a hexagon and a pentagon). Its average bond length is 1.4 angstroms.
Functions and applications of fullerenes and their derivatives
Due to its excellent radical scavenging, light absorption, superconducting semiconductors, perfect structure, DNA affinity, electron acceptor, efficient adsorption characteristics of embedded molecules (or functional), fullerenes and their derivatives have been widely applied in cosmetics , pharmaceutical intermediates, health products, rubber/film material modifiers , high energy , composite materials, additives, and other areas.