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Nanotech Surprise: Shooting Lasers at Buckyballs Makes Them Bigger 74

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-only-make-them-angry dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "Since 1985, scientists have been trying to determine how Buckyballs (scientifically named Buckminsterfullerene) are created. They are molecules with the formula C60 (a fullerene) that forms a hexagonal sphere of interlocking carbon atoms. 'But how these often highly symmetric, beautiful molecules with extremely fascinating properties form in the first place has been a mystery.' For over three decades the creation of these molecules have baffled the scientific community. Recently researchers at Florida State University, in cooperation with MagLab, have looked deeper into the creation process and determined their origin. It was already known the the process for buckyball creation was under highly energetic conditions over an instant, 'We started with a paste of pre-existing fullerene molecules mixed with carbon and helium, shot it with a laser, and instead of destroying the fullerenes we were surprised to find they'd actually grown.' The fullerenes were able to absorb and incorporate carbon from the surrounding gas. This study will help to illuminate the path towards carbon nanotechnology and extraterrestrial environmental studies, due to buckyball's abundance in extrasolar clouds."
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Nanotech Surprise: Shooting Lasers at Buckyballs Makes Them Bigger

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