Carbon Nano Onions

Arno Rettenbacher and Luis Echegoyen

Carbon Nano Onions  by Arno Rettenbacher and Luis Echegoyen

Carbon Nano Onions (CNOs) are species where several fullerenes (buckyballs) having various diameters arrange themselves -- Russian doll-style -- concentrically one inside the other. That is why they are referred to as “nano onions” or “buckyonions.” The colored three-layer structure shown in the center of a real onion is a computer model of a fullerene C60 molecule (yellow) inside a two-layer onion C240 (blue) inside a three-layer onion C540 (grey), all together described as C60@C240@C540. Many more layers are possible and observed experimentally. Clemson researchers in Dr. Echegoyen’s lab have succeeded in solubilizing these nano onions by attaching long chains of molecules to the outside layer of the nano onions. The background of the image shows those solubilized onions as revealed by the transmission electron microscope. The work was called a “landmark and standard for future work in this field” and was featured on the cover of the prestigious Chemistry – A European Journal.

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