Nearly four decades ago, the discovery of new all-carbon molecules called fullerenes was a revolutionary breakthrough that paved the way for fullerene nanotechnology. Fullerenes have spherical shapes composed of pentagons and hexagons, similar to soccer balls, and cavities within the carbon framework of the fullerene molecule can hold various atoms. This technique introduces metal atoms into the carbon framework, inducing the formation of endohedral metallofullerenes (EMFs), which are technically and scientifically important due to their unique structural and optoelectronic properties.
For the first time, a research team from MISIS, the Russian State University of Science and Technology (NUST) MISIS, the Institute of Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials Technology, and the Kirensky Institute of Physics FRC KSC SB RAS has obtained scandium-containing EMF and studied its polymerization process. Polymerization refers to the process by which unbound molecules join together to form a chemically bound polymeric material. Most polymerization reactions can proceed at relatively high rates at high pressures.
After using high-frequency arc discharge plasma to obtain scandium-containing fullerenes from carbon agglomerates, the researchers placed them in a diamond chopping block cell, the most versatile and popular device used to create extremely high pressures.
“We have found that guest atoms promote the polymerization process. The polarization of scandium atoms through carbon bonds completely changes the binding process of fullerenes, leading to an increase in its chemical activity.” Senior Research Fellow, MISIS Laboratory of Inorganic Nanomaterials, National University of Science and Technology “The material obtained is less rigid than the original polymerized fullerene, which is easier to obtain,” said Pavel Sorokin. “
The researchers believe that this study will pave the way for the study of fullerene endohedral complexes as a macroscopic material and make it possible to view EMFs not only as a fundamentally significant nanostructure, but also as a Promising materials that may be in demand in various technological fields in the future.