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Shark Science

Nanotech Surprise: Shooting Lasers at Buckyballs Makes Them Bigger 74

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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  • by excelsior_gr ( 969383 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:23AM (#40582309)

    Sorry, my post is slightly off-topic, but I found this remarkably interesting.

    Britannica: Blunt text, almost no pictures, broken into 5 pages, the last two of which are junk. Surrounded by links that claim to be "relevant" (the 3 links on some dudes that are probably working on the topic are, I would say, quite irrelevant if someone wants to learn more on fullerenes and the ones on "carbon" and "cluster" are way too elementary to be of any use) and massive header/footer with yet more junk links. No citations in the article, the "Bibliography" section only lets you submit a publication for consideration without providing any information on what has already been considered and their "Citations" section is about how to cite their own article!

    The Wikipedia article on the other hand, is on a single page, with lots of pictures, one of which is animated. There is a far more granular Table of Contents than in Britannica, with a discreet pane on "Nanomaterials" high up (offering elementary knowledge, even a "in popular culture" link) and a footer on "Allotropes of carbon" (offering more in-depth information). Translations in 30+ languages are to be found on the left. And there are 58 citations, a discussion page, 5 "further reading" links that are actually relevant and 10 or so external links, which can be directly translated into traffic that Wikipedia is generously streaming to 3rd party cites.

    I have taken Wikipedia for granted for so long. I am SO donating next time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:48AM (#40582495)

    You missed:

    The Britannica article was edited by David R.M. Walton (Emeritus Reader in Chemistry and Director, Fullerene Science Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton, England) and Harold W. Kroto (Professor of Chemistry, University of Sussex, Brighton, England. Winner of 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry - and specifically awarded it for his part in discovering fullerene i.e. the subject of the article).

    The Wikipedia article was edited by whoever happened to pop along at the time. Ideally those people will have drawn upon reputable sources such as those contributed to by David R.M. Walton and Harold W. Kroto. But you can't be sure without checking the references yourself.

  • by excelsior_gr ( 969383 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:56PM (#40583025)

    Yet the experts neglected putting up pictures showing e.g. how this material actually looks like, although, I am sure, their hard drives must be full of data. And I'm totally not interested in the soccer ball structure, this is the first thing you will see anywhere (just make a Google image-search). The Wikipedia article promptly displays a picture of C60 in crystalline form, a picture of C60 in solution and a SEM picture of fullerite. All pictures I can use in my own works, provided that I follow the instructions of their very permissive licenses. And if I want to be scientific about it, I can always follow the pictures back to the source and cite that directly. And don't even get me started on the Wikipedia article on "Buckminsterfullerene" which offers even more data, including CAS number, and material properties in the "infobox" that has its own citations (a lot of which are also found in my own bookmarks anyway). I'll take rich, traceable information over the dry words of some expert any day of the week.

  • by Razgorov Prikazka ( 1699498 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:25PM (#40583225)
    Last month I attended a lecture by Sir H. Kroto. In that lecture he mentioned that Wikipedia actually has quite good information on the subject of fullerenes, and he added:"And on some occasions it is actually more correct than some of the textbooks". The context in which this was put, was one that he applauded the concept that wikipedia embodies.
    Just saying...

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