Fullerene Formation and Annealing

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Science  05 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5258, pp. 45-46
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5258.45


The symmetric carbon molecule C60, also known as buckminsterfullerene, can be synthesized in macroscopic quantities, yet no satisfactory theoretical model of its creation exists. In his Perspective, Mintmire discusses calculations by Eggen et al. in the same issue (p. 87) suggesting that atomic carbon may act as a catalyst during fullerene formation in a carbon arc, thus enabling open graphitic sheets to anneal into closed structures.