Skip to comments.Carbon Fullerenes Now Have Metallic Cousins
Posted on 05/21/2006 7:17:16 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou
Scientists have uncovered a class of gold atom clusters that are the first known metallic hollow equivalents of the famous hollow carbon fullerenes known as buckyballs. The evidence for what their discoverers call hollow golden cages appeared today in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The fullerene is made up of a sphere of 60 carbon (C) atoms; gold (Au) requires many fewer16, 17 and 18 atoms, in triangular configurations more gem-like than soccer ball. At more than 6 angstroms across, or roughly a ten-millionth the size of a comma, they are nonetheless roomy enough to cage a smaller atom.
This is the first time that a hollow cage made of metal has been experimentally proved, said Lai-Sheng Wang, the papers lead corresponding author.
Wang is an affiliate senior chief scientist at the Department of Energys Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and professor of physics at Washington State University. The experiments were buttressed and the clusters geometry deciphered from theoretical calculations led by Professor Xiao Cheng Zeng of the University of Nebraska and co-corresponding author.
Wang, who worked in the Richard Smalley lab that gave the world buckyballs, is part of a large cluster of researchers who have spent much of the past decade attempting to find the fullerenes kin in metal. But their search has proved difficult because of metal clusters tendency to compact or flatten.
Experiments at the PNNL-based W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory elicited the photoelectron spectra of clusters smaller than Au32, which had been theorized as the gold-cage analog to C60 but ruled out by Wangs group in an experiment that showed it as being a compact clump.
They instead turned their attention to clusters smaller than 20 atoms, which earlier work by Wangs group showed were 3-D, but larger than 13 atoms, known to be flat. The spectra and calculations showed that clusters of 15 atoms or fewer remained flat but that all but one possible configuration of 16, 17 and 18 atoms open in the middle. At 19 atoms, the spaces fill in again to form a near-pyramid.
Au-16 is beautiful and can be viewed as the smallest golden cage, Wang said. He pictures it as having removed the four corner atoms from our Au20 pyramid and then letting the remaining atoms relax a little, and thus opening up space in its centre.
It and its larger neighbours are stable at room temperature and are known as free-standing cages unattached to a surface or any other body, in a vacuum. When deposited on a surface, the cluster may interact with the surface and the structure may change.
Wang and his co-workers suspect that many different kinds of atoms can be trapped inside these hollow clusters, a process called doping. These doped cages may very well survive on surfaces, suggesting a method for influencing physical and chemical properties at smaller-than-nano scales, depending on the dopants.
Wangs group has not yet attempted to imprison a foreign atom in the hollow Au cages, but they plan to try.
I wonder what we'll find to do with it.
Atomic birdie in a golden cage?
And I say we call them "Wangers".
"Xiao Cheng Zeng Sha-Wangers"
(Sounds like a Chinese fireworks show)
hollow golden cage pong
I don't know, but regardless, it's sure to be expensive, and my wife's sure to want one.
Of course I'm still trying to figure out exactly what one is supposed to do with jewelry.
Is there any possibility that science will find a way to make gold from atom rearranging?
This could be catostrophic for anyone with gold investments, the market for gold could have the floor fall out, overnight.
In keeping with the naming convention (Fullerenes), I'd go with "Wangerenes."
As far as a popular nickname, equivalent to "Buckyballs," I'm sort of stumped. Shengshapes, maybe?
Yes, it has already been done, it cost about 3,000/oz. IIRC. Gold from seawater was a little better at approximately 2000/oz.
carbon fullerenes, buckeyballs...sounds like a cartoon.
It dont exactly say banjos and incest . . .
"Yes, it has already been done, it cost about 3,000/oz. IIRC. Gold from seawater was a little better at approximately 2000/oz."
So, all the goldbugs predicting $3,200.00/oz. are in for a bit of disappointment, lol. A near infinite supply does tend to put a cap on price.
I believe there's a joint research project being conducted by MIT, Technion University (Haifa, Israel) and the Zirconium Research Council (ZRC) that aims to identify the lapis philosophi by 2009.
Describes a few marriages I know of.
I took a class from a professor who was entranced with the possibilities of bucky balls. He thought it possible that cures for diseases such as AIDS could be crafted from them, among many other things. The "cure" would reside within the hollow space, etc. Well, that wasn't all too long ago, but I think the excitement about this has far outweighed the practical outcomes. It's an interesting physical phenomenon that may not lead anywhere particularly useful any time soon, but it sure captures the imaginations of physicists.
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