Fri Sep 26 16:49:11 PDT 2008

C60 Buckminsterfullerene

It is hard to beat the beauty of C60, also known as buckminsterfullerene. This is the molecule you see below these words.

C60, Buckminsterfullerene

The C60 molecule was discovered by chemists and physicists examining the bonding and spectroscopy of carbon in its various forms. The fact that their experiments showed anomalously stable groups of carbon atoms around certain 'magic' numbers of atoms came as a surprise. Soon the investigators began to suspect the existence of a new form of carbon, not based on continuously bonded arrays of carbon atoms, as in graphite and diamond, but based on groups of carbon atoms clustered to form molecules.

Once enough C60 had been collected and purified its structure could be unambiguously determined.

And the C60 structure that you see above did not disappoint. It is highly symmetrical and pleasing to behold - and somehow this is what one expects of important molecules.

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