Metallofullerene Matryoshka | November 9, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 45 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 45 | p. 40 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 9, 2009

Metallofullerene Matryoshka

Cluster atoms in a carbon-scandium-fullerene complex, C2@Sc4@C80-Ih, fit inside one another like the famous Russian nesting dolls
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: JACS In C&EN
Keywords: metallofullerene, endohedral
Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc.
Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc.

A metallofullerene version of a matryoshka—the famous Russian nesting dolls—has been made for the first time by chemists in China (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja9077842). The molecule features two carbon atoms trapped inside a tetrahedral cluster of four scandium atoms, which itself is caged within an icosahedral C80 fullerene. The compound, chemically identified as C2@Sc4@C80-Ih, was synthesized, isolated, and characterized by a team led by Chun-Ying Shu and Chun-Ru Wang of Beijing’s Institute of Chemistry, along with Xin Lu of Xiamen University. The researchers prepared the metal carbide endofullerene using the Krätschmer-Huffman arc discharge method in which they applied a potential to a scandium-packed graphite rod between two electrodes in a chamber filled with inert helium gas. The group employed a battery of spectroscopic analyses to determine the molecule’s structure and used density functional theory calculations to verify its nested nature. “The six-atom cluster C2@Sc4 rotates freely inside the C80 fullerene cage according to the spectroscopic characterizations,” Wang says. “Inspired by isolation of this molecule, we are now trying to synthesize an endohedral fullerene with C80 encapsulating an even larger cluster.”

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