A Rational Chemical Synthesis of C60

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Science  22 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5559, pp. 1500-1503
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068427

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Isolable quantities of C60, the smallest stable fullerene, have been synthesized in 12 steps from commercially available starting materials by rational chemical methods. A molecular polycyclic aromatic precursor bearing chlorine substituents at key positions forms C60 when subjected to flash vacuum pyrolysis at 1100°C. No other fullerenes are formed as by-products. The methods we have developed for the target-specific synthesis of fullerenes, applied here to a synthesis of C60, should make possible the directed laboratory preparation of other fullerenes as well, including those not accessible by graphite vaporization.

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