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Fullerenes Enter Our Life
July 12, 2007 13:56

Fulleren structure

Discussions of International conference “Fullerenes and Atomic Clusters” (IWFAC'2007) have united world leading scientists in Saint Petersburg, where the meeting was held for the eighth time.

Nowadays the amount of published scientific works, dealing with nanomaterials, which include fullerenes, exceeds 40 thousands. Brand new nanocarbon materials allow creating items, which have unique parameters – for example, cell-phone batteries, which keep working for years; polymer solar batteries, serving as sleeping mats for travellers; contrast media for magnetic tomography and many more.

Existence of fullerenes – a new form of carbon – was predicted over 20 years ago, and later said compounds have been synthesized. Fullerenes look like closed coreless structures, containing carbon atoms in their nodes.


First synthesized fullerene consisted of 60 carbon atoms and looked like a football having a diameter, smaller than one nanometer. Discovery of fullerene structures resulted in the Nobel Prize, awarded to American scientists Richard Smalley and Robert Curl and English researcher Harold Kroto in 1996. Following ten years were fruitful for fullerene explorers – they have built various “balls”, nanotubes and nanospheres, embedded into each other or containing atoms of other chemical elements – the latter structures are called “carbon nano-matreshkas” (“matreshka” is a Russian nesting doll).

In fact, scientists have created a Lego-like tool, which elements have size, commensurable to that of a biological cell – “carbon nano-bricks”, ideally fitting tasks of nanotechnology. Now it is time for fullerenes to leave scientists’ playgrounds and enter world industry. Various countries, the USA, China and Japan, for instance, have introduced special government programmes for developing nanotechnologies. European countries, which, of course, don’t want to remain behind in this hi-tech race, start joint European programmes, such as joint project on polymer solar batteries, performed by Austria, Germany, France and Great Britain.


However, abovementioned international meeting on fullerenes and atomic clusters has demonstrated that Russian researchers hold good positions in the field of carbon nanotechnologies. During conference’s plenary sessions Russian scientists have presented reports, describing interesting and promising research achievements, such as methods of synthesis and deciphering structure of complex fullerene aggregates; techniques for synthesis and studying properties of multilayer fullerenes; synthesis of “carbon nano-matreshkas” and studying properties of nanotubes, made of semiconducting materials. Think-tank from Saint Petersburg also made a presentation of how fullerenes can be helpful for medicine and be used for synthesizing new pharmaceutical agents. All mentioned pieces of research were made across Russia in various scientific institutions within the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    Science & Life
    The Internet Journal of Nanotechnology
Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian technologies     

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