Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Bouncing Bucky Balls

Bucky balls have the moves

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.

... more about:
»Molecules »Motion »Simulation »Zerbetto

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,

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.

Francesco Zerbetto | Small
Further information:

Further reports about: Molecules Motion Simulation Zerbetto

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>