Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Video shows buckyballs form by 'shrink wrapping'

Abstract:
Experiments, simulations reveal birth secret of tiny carbon spheres

The birth secret of buckyballs -- hollow spheres of carbon no wider than a strand of DNA -- has been caught on tape by researchers at Sandia National Laboratory and Rice University. An electron microscope video and computer simulations show that "shrink-wrapping" is the key; buckyballs start life as distorted, unstable sheets of graphite, shedding loosely connected threads and chains until only the perfectly spherical buckyballs remain.

Video shows buckyballs form by 'shrink wrapping'

Houston, TX | Posted on October 26th, 2007

The birth secret of buckyballs -- hollow spheres of carbon no wider than a strand of DNA -- has been caught on tape by researchers at Sandia National Laboratory and Rice University. An electron microscope video and computer simulations show that "shrink-wrapping" is the key; buckyballs start life as distorted, unstable sheets of graphite, shedding loosely connected threads and chains until only the perfectly spherical buckyballs remain.

The research is available online and slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters (PRL). It is among a small number of PRL papers chosen as an "Editors' Suggestion."

Buckyballs were discovered at Rice in 1985, but understanding the intimate details their formation has vexed scientists. Buckyballs form at high temperatures, and one long-standing theory of their genesis is the "hot giant" hypothesis, which suggests that the carbon atoms first assemble by the thousands in flat graphite sheets. Heat distorts the sheets, "shrink wrapping" them into ever-smaller shapes, and buckyballs survive thanks to their perfect symmetry.

"This 'hot evolution' is so rapid that it was nearly impossible to prove or disprove it by experimental observation," said study co-author Boris Yakobson, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Rice. "Sandia's Jianyu Huang solved this problem by creating an ingenious, controllable heat bath inside a 10-nanometer-wide nanotube. That allowed him to capture video of giant fullerenes gradually shrinking."

Huang, who performed the experiments while at Boston College and analyzed the data at Sandia, said the results constitute the first experimental evidence for the 'shrink-wrapping' and 'hot-giant' fullerene birth mechanisms.

Huang captured the high-resolution images using a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The video shows a large fullerene, with an estimated 2,000 atoms of carbon gradually shrinking. It confirmed predictions about the atomic mechanisms that Yakobson's team at Rice had made based on detailed computer simulations.

"If heat is sustained, as it was when we took these images, the fullerenes undergo a further shrinking and vanish," Huang said. "This confirms an aspect of 'shrink wrapping' theory that was predicted by Rice's Rick Smalley and Bob Curl made shortly after they discovered fullerenes."

Huang and Yakobson said it may be possible to exploit the findings to control the fullerene formation process and tailor fullerenes for a variety of applications.

Co-authors of the research include research scientist Feng Ding and graduate student Kun Jiao, both of Rice. The research was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Energy's Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies.

####

About Rice University
Rice University is consistently ranked one of America’s best teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size—2,850 undergraduates and 1,950 graduate students; selectivity—10 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources—an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, and the fifth largest endowment per student among American universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work. Rice’s wooded campus is located in the nation’s fourth largest city and on America’s South Coast.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jade Boyd
713-348-6778

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Discoveries

Artificial cells act more like the real thing December 6th, 2019

Scientists see defects in potential new semiconductor: Discovery could help in effort to make high-powered electronics more efficient December 5th, 2019

Electro-optical device provides solution to faster computing memories and processors: First-of-a-kind electro-optical device provides solution to faster and more energy efficient computing memories and processors December 2nd, 2019

Growing nano-tailored surfaces using micellar brushes November 29th, 2019

Announcements

Self-driving microrobots December 10th, 2019

CEA-Leti Thin-Film Batteries Target Extended Applications and Improved Performance in Medical Implants: IEDM 2019 Paper Reports Millimeter-Scale TFBs Exhibit the Best Performance In Both Energy and Power Densities December 10th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Closes Underwritten Public Offering with Gross Proceeds of $266.8 Million December 7th, 2019

'Buildings' in human bone may hold key to stronger 3D-printed lightweight structures December 6th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project