Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bucky's brother -- The boron buckyball makes its debut

25.04.2007
Materials scientists find stable, spherical form for boron

A new study by Rice University scientists predicts the existence and stability of another "buckyball" consisting entirely of boron atoms.

The research, which has been published online and is due to appear as an editor's selection in Physical Review Letters, was conducted bv Boris Yakobson, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of chemistry, and his associates Nevill Gonzalez Szwacki and Arta Sadrzadeh.

The original buckyball, a cage-shaped molecule of 60 carbon atoms, was discovered at Rice by Robert Curl, Harold Kroto and Richard Smalley in 1985. The boron buckyball is structurally similar to the original C60 fullerene, but it has an additional atom in the center of each hexagon, which significantly increases stability.

"This is the first prediction of its possible existence," Yakobson said of the boron buckyball, or B80. "This has not been observed or even conceived of before. We do hope it may lead to a significant breakthrough."

In the earliest stages of their work, the team attempted to build a "buckyball" using silicon atoms but determined that it would collapse on itself. Their search for another possible atom led them on a short trip across the periodic table.

"Boron is nearby (one atomic unit from carbon). One reason we tried it was because of proximity," Yakobson said. "Boron also has the ability to catenate, to stick together better, than other atoms, which also made it appealing."

Initial work with 60 boron atoms failed to create a hollow ball that would hold its form, so another boron atom was placed into the center of each hexagon for added stability.

Yakobson estimated that the scientific work, the consideration of the variety of boron clusters to single out the B80, took more than a year, with Szwacki initially leading the work and then Sadrzadeh gradually taking greater part in the effort.

"We thought we had the answer, essentially, after three or four months, but then we had to prove it," Yakobson said. "There are numerous possibilities, but we had to prove that this was the answer. I think we’ve made a convincing case."

Yakobson said it is too early to speculate whether the boron buckyball will prove to be equally or more useful than its Nobel Prize-winning sibling.

"It’s too early to make comparisons," he said. "All we know is that it’s a very logical, very stable structure likely to exist.

"But this opens up a whole new direction, a whole new continent to explore. There should be a strong effort to find it experimentally. That may not be an easy path, but we gave them a good road map."

Following the paper's acceptance, there was a little debate with the journal's editors about whether or not the structure could be named "buckyball." Yakobson mentioned this to Curl.

"Bob (Curl) said with a chuckle that it was more of a ‘buckyball’ than his buckyball," Yakobson said. The reason being that C60 was named for famed architect Buckminster Fuller, because the buckyball looked like conjoined geodesic domes, a structure that Fuller had invented.

"When Fuller made his domes, he made them from triangles because hexagons would collapse," Yakobson said. "In B80, we fill the hexagon with one more atom, making triangles."

Yakobson said having the paper published in Physical Review Letters will help get the attention of experimentalists in the field.

"It is very helpful that this work can be seen and this is just a good instrument for it," he said. "To be able to deliver it to this broad a base of physicists and chemists is a good start."

Jade Boyd | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientists reach back in time to discover some of the most power-packed galaxies
28.02.2017 | Clemson University

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

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: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists reach back in time to discover some of the most power-packed galaxies

28.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nano 'sandwich' offers unique properties

28.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery

28.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>