C60 molecules have an intriguing ball-shaped structure that suggests several interesting possibilities for motion on surfaces. Indeed, researchers have found that the passage of electrons through a bucky ball in a transistor is correlated to the spinning of the ball around its center of mass.
Moreover, since bucky balls look like molecular ball bearings, it has been thought that they may be useful as lubricants for use in automobile brakes. Now a team of researchers at the University of Bologna (Italy) and the University of Liverpool (UK) have carried out detailed molecular dynamics simulations to understand the motion of bucky balls on metal surfaces.
Francesco Zerbetto and Gilberto Teobaldi have found that C60 molecules exhibit a wide range of molecular motions on surfaces. The bucky balls spin and bounce on the surface and also show an intercage rattling motion that Zerbetto says is similar to that of billiard balls in a partly filled roll-a-rack triangle. The simulations have been carried out as a function of temperature and model the movement of several bucky ball molecules over times ranging up to one nanosecond. There is some transfer of charge from the gold surface to the bucky ball that helps in the adsorption of these molecules at the surface.
The researchers have found that with increasing temperature the cages move away from the gold surfaces resulting in a lower frequency of bouncing. The bouncing frequencies obtained by simulation match very nicely with experimental measurements of single-molecule bucky-ball transistors, corroborating the validity of the simulations.
The researchers have found that the bouncing of the cage on the surface and the intercage rattling govern the friction-related properties of the bucky balls on a surface. “The strong van der Waals interactions of the bucky balls with neighboring atoms makes the friction far too high for lubrication”, said Zerbetto, but he is hopeful that doping or chemical modification can be used to separate the bucky balls to get them to act more like ball bearings.
Author: Francesco Zerbetto, University of Bologna, http://www.ciam.unibo.it/sitcon/
Title: C60 on Gold: Adsorption, Motion, and Viscosity
Small 2007, 3, No. 10, 1694–1698, doi: 10.1002/smll.200700111
About Small: Micro and Nano: No small Matter. Science at the nano- and microscale is currently receiving enormous wordwide interest. Published by Wiley-VCH, Small provides the very best forum for experimental and theoretical studies of fundamental and applied interdisciplinary research at these dimensions. Read an attractive mix of peer-reviewed Communications, Reviews, Concepts, Highlights, Essays, and Full Papers.
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy