Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NASA's Spitzer Finds Solid Buckyballs in Space

Building a Buckyball Particle in Space NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the solid form of buckyballs in space for the first time. To form a solid particle, the buckyballs must stack together, as illustrated in this artist's concept showing the very beginnings of the process. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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February 22, 2012
PASADENA, Calif. -- Astronomers using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have, for the first time, discovered buckyballs in a solid form in space. Prior to this discovery, the microscopic carbon spheres had been found only in gas form in the cosmos.

Formally named buckministerfullerene, buckyballs are named after their resemblance to the late architect Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes. They are made up of 60 carbon atoms arranged into a hollow sphere, like a soccer ball. Their unusual structure makes them ideal candidates for electrical and chemical applications on Earth, including superconducting materials, medicines, water purification and armor.
MORE: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-047&cid=release_2012-047&msource=12047&tr=y&auid=10332024

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