Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Buckyballs make room for gilded cages

17.05.2006


Carbon fullerenes now have metallic cousins, ‘hollow golden cages’


Au16, the world’s smallest hollow gold cage.



Scientists have uncovered a class of gold atom clusters that are the first known metallic hollow equivalents of the famous hollow carbon fullerenes known as buckyballs.
The evidence for what their discoverers call "hollow golden cages" appeared today in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The fullerene is made up of a sphere of 60 carbon (C) atoms; gold (Au) requires many fewer--16, 17 and 18 atoms, in triangular configurations more gem-like than soccer ball. At more than 6 angstroms across, or roughly a ten-millionth the size of this comma, they are nonetheless roomy enough to cage a smaller atom.



"This is the first time that a hollow cage made of metal has been experimentally proved," said Lai-Sheng Wang, the paper’s lead corresponding author.

Wang is an affiliate senior chief scientist at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and professor of physics at Washington State University. The experiments were buttressed and the clusters’ geometry deciphered from theoretical calculations led by Professor Xiao Cheng Zeng of the University of Nebraska and co-corresponding author.

Wang, who worked in the Richard Smalley lab that gave the world buckyballs, is part of a large cluster of researchers who have spent much of the past decade attempting to find the fullerene’s kin in metal. But their search has proved difficult because of metal clusters’ tendency to compact or flatten.

Experiments at the PNNL-based W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory elicited the photoelectron spectra of clusters smaller than Au32, which had been theorized as the gold-cage analog to C60 but ruled out by Wang’s group in an experiment that showed it as being a compact clump.

They instead turned their attention to clusters smaller than 20 atoms, which earlier work by Wang’s group showed were 3-D-- a golden pyramid, no less--but larger than 13 atoms, known to be flat. The spectra and calculations showed that clusters of 15 atoms or fewer remained flat but that all but one possible configuration of 16, 17 and 18 atoms open in the middle. At 19 atoms, the spaces fill in again to form a near-pyramid.

"Au-16 is beautiful and can be viewed as the smallest golden cage," Wang said. He pictures it as having "removed the four corner atoms from our Au20 pyramid and then letting the remaining atoms relax a little," and thus opening up space in its center.

It and its larger neighbors are stable at room temperature and are known as "free-standing" cages--unattached to a surface or any other body, in a vacuum. "When deposited on a surface, the cluster may interact with the surface and the structure may change."

Wang and his co-workers suspect "that many different kinds of atoms can be trapped inside" these hollow clusters, a process called "doping." "These doped cages may very well survive on surfaces," suggesting a method for influencing physical and chemical properties at smaller-than-nano scales, "depending on the dopants."

Wang’s group has not yet attempted to imprison a foreign atom in the hollow Au cages, but they plan to try.

Bill Cannon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pnl.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property
26.07.2017 | City College of New York

nachricht Large, distant comets more common than previously thought
26.07.2017 | University of Maryland

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>