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buckminsterfullerene (bŭkˌmĭnstərfŏlˈərēnˌ, –fŏlˌərēnˈ) [key] or buckyball, C60, hollow cage carbon molecule named for R. Buckminster Fuller because of the resemblance of its molecular structure to his geodesic domes. Although buckminsterfullerene (C60) was originally detected in soot in 1985, isolation was first reported in 1990. The soccerball-like molecules are prepared in helium by passing about 150 amps through a carbon rod and extracting the soot with benzene; the resulting magenta solution contains C60 and C70. See fullerene.

See J. Baggot, Perfect Symmetry: The Accidental Discovery of Buckminsterfullerene (1996); H. Aldersey-Williams, The Most Beautiful Molecule: The Discovery of the Buckyball (1997).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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