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In 1985, chemists Harold Kroto, James Heath, Sean O' Brien, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley prepared a new allotrope of Carbon called Fullerenes. It consists of 60 carbon atoms, joined together in the form of a perfect sphere.  Chemists named this beautiful structure C60 Buckminister Fullerene in honour of the American architect, Robert Buckminister Fuller who designed geodesic dome structures, having hexagonal and pentagonal patterns.

Fullerenes are the purest form of carbon. They are also found to occur naturally in the rocks in Russia and in meteorite, which crashed into Germany. The fullerenes with 60 carbon atoms condense to form a solid of weakly bound molecules. The 60 carbon atoms are shaped like tiny soccer balls, called bucky balls with an atom of carbon at each point where the lines on a soccer ball would normally meet.


Fullerenes with 60 carbon atoms. Fullerenes with 80 and even 350 carbon atoms are known. 

Fullerenes with 80 carbon atoms

Compounds of fullerene are superconductors, semiconductors, lubricants, etc.


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