The First Stable Lower Fullerene: C36
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley United States
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A new pure carbon material, presumably composed of thirty six carbon atom molecules, has been synthesized and isolated in milligram quantities. It appears as though these molecules have a closed cage structure making them the smallest member of a new class of molecules known as fullerenes, most notably of which is the soccer ball shaped C60expn 2. However, unlike other known fullerenes, any closed, fullerene-like c36 cage will necessarily contain fused pentagon rings. Therefore, this molecule apparently violates the isolated pentagon rule, a criterion which requires isolated pentagons for stability in fullerene molecules. Striking parallels between this problem and the synthesis of other fused five member fused ring systems will be discussed. Also, it will be shown that certain biological structures known as clathrin behave in a manner which gives excellent predictions about fullerenes and nanotubes. These predictions help to explain the presence of abundant quantities of C36 in arced graphite soot.