Synthesis with a template: Carbon-free fullerene analogue

April 30, 2009,

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team led by Manfred Scheer at the University of Regensburg has now synthesized the first example of an inorganic, carbon-free C80 analogue.

The discovery of a soccer-ball-shaped molecule made of 60 was a minor revolution in chemistry: Fullerenes are spherical, highly symmetrical molecules made of carbon atoms, and are the third form of carbon after diamond and graphite. However, the C60 "soccer ball" is not the only fullerene by far.

Among its less stable relations is the C80 fullerene. There are seven different possible structural forms that have 80 carbon atoms in a symmetrical, spherical arrangement. Among the forms that are so instable they have not previously been produced is the icosahedral version (icosahedron= twenty-sided figure).

Instead, a team led by Manfred Scheer at the University of Regensburg has now synthesized the first example of an inorganic, carbon-free C80 analogue. As they report in the journal , their fullerene-type system of building blocks can be produced by using a template (template-controlled aggregation).

The researchers used pentaphosphaferrocene (a five-membered ring made of phosphorus atoms bound to an iron atom) and copper chloride for their synthesis. Their template was a carborane—a compound made of carbon, boron, and hydrogen atoms—of the appropriate size (ca. 0.8 nm) and shape (pseudo five-fold symmetry).

The individual building blocks aggregate around the carborane to form a spherical supermolecule with fullerene-type geometry, enclosing the carborane within the structure as a "guest molecule". This gave the scientists a structure that corresponds to an icosahedral fullerene made of 80 carbon atoms.

This scaffold is made of twenty copper and sixty phosphorus atoms that are arranged into twelve rings containing five phosphorus atoms each and 30 six-membered rings containing two copper and four phosphorus atoms. This inorganic shell interacts electronically with the enclosed guest molecule.

"Template-controlled aggregation has been shown to be an efficient route to large, entirely spherical molecules of fullerene-type topology," says Scheer. "The guest molecule determines the size and composition of the fullerene-type product."

More information: Manfred Scheer, A Carbon-Free Icosahedral Molecule with C80 Topology, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200900342

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: String of Fullerene Pearls

Related Stories

String of Fullerene Pearls

November 30, 2007

Under an atomic force microscope, the tiny structures look like fragments of nanoscopic pearl necklaces. In reality, the “pearls” are fullerene molecules that are linked together by means of a special fullerene-binding ...

Converting Nitrogen to a More Useful Form

January 9, 2007

Nitrogen-containing organic compounds are important products as well as intermediates for many pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and chemicals used in electronics. Air contains plenty of nitrogen, but it is in a form that cannot ...

Progress toward Artificial Photosynthesis?

March 9, 2007

Plants can do it: they simply grab carbon dioxide out of the air and covert it into biomass. In this process, known as photosynthesis, the plants use light as their energy source. Chemists would also like to be able to use ...

Recommended for you

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.