Buckminsterfullerene (or buckyball) is a spherical fullerene molecule with the formula C60. It has a cage-like fused-ring structure (Truncated icosahedron) which resembles a soccer ball, made of twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons, with a carbon atom at each vertex of each polygon and a bond along each polygon edge.
It was first intentionally prepared in 1985 by Harold Kroto, James R. Heath, Sean O’Brien, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley at Rice University.Kroto, Curl and Smalley were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their roles in the discovery of buckminsterfullerene and the related class of molecules, the fullerenes. The name is a homage to Buckminster Fuller, as C60 resembles his trademark geodesic domes. Buckminsterfullerene is the most commonly naturally occurring fullerene molecule, as it can be found in small quantities in soot. Solid and gaseous forms of the molecule have been detected in deep space.
Buckminsterfullerene is the one of the largest objects to have been shown to exhibit wave–particle duality. Its discovery led to the exploration of a new field of chemistry, involving the study of fullerenes.
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