Buckyball - The Magic Molecule

Buckyballs, C60 the Magic Molecule, fullerene, Buckminister Fuller

Carbon is the most intensely studied of all the elements because it is the basis for most ofthe molecules of life—the organic molecules. There used to be only two basic structures: hard, sparkling diamond, whose carbon atoms are arranged in little pyramids; and dull, soft, slippery graphite, which consists of sheets of carbon-atom hexagons. As of 1991, scientists found a new carbon, the perfect carbon, C-60 which is the most powerful, perfectly useful molecule known to humankind and they called it, The Molecule of the 21st Century.

The exciting part is, is that the C-60 molecule is exceptionally stable and resistant to radioactivity and chemical corrosion. It also greedily accepts electrons, but is not reluctant to release them. These and other attributes have scientists and engineers already speculating about microscopic ball bearings, new cancer treatments, lightweight batteries, powerful rocket fuels, and the infinite possibilities in plastics and other organic compounds that have carbon atoms as their backbones. One proposal for anti-tumor therapy in cancer patients is to enclose radioactive atoms inside buckyballs.

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