Physics And Chemistry Of The Fullerenes
The creation of the hollow carbon buckminsterfullerene molecule as well as methods to produce and purify bulk quantities of it has triggered an explosive growth of research in the field. Superconducting and magnetic fullerides, atoms trapped inside the fullerene cage, chemically bonded fullerene complexes, and nanometer-scale helical carbon tubes are some of the leading areas that have generated much excitement.
In September 1985, in an attempt to simulate the chemistry in a carbon star, Harry Kroto, Bob Curl and Richard Smalley set up a mass spectrometry experiment to study the plasma produced by focusing a pulsed laser on solid graphite. Serendipitously, a dominant 720 amu mass peak corresponding to a C60 species was revealed in the time-of-flight mass spectrum of the resulting carbon clusters.