Harry Dorn and team find evidence of 'buckyball' formation

Harry Dorn, Ph.D.

Harry Dorn, Ph.D.

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle, commonly called a buckyball, is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Technically known as fullerenes, these spherical carbon molecules have shown great promise for uses in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics. One small hiccup, however, has hindered development of a deeper understanding of these peculiar structures over the past few decades: No one knows exactly how they are formed.

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