Noble Gas Atoms Inside Fullerenes

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Science  22 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5256, pp. 1693-1697
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5256.1693


Heating fullerenes at 650°C under 3000 atmospheres of the noble gases helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon introduces these atoms into the fullerene cages in about one in 1000 molecules. A “window” mechanism in which one or more of the carbon-carbon bonds of the cage is broken has been proposed to explain the process. The amount of gas inside the fullerenes can be measured by heating to 1000°C to expel the gases, which can then be measured by mass spectroscopy. Information obtained from the nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of helium-3-labeled fullerenes indicates that the magnetic field inside the cage is altered by aromatic ring current effects. Each higher fullerene isomer and each chemical derivative of a fullerene that has been studied so far has given a distinct helium nuclear magnetic resonance peak.

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