In a feat of precision chemistry, scientists have locked a single hydrogen molecule inside a soccer ball–shaped carbon molecule known as a buckyball, and they have used the technique to make large quantities of the tiny containers.
Encapsulating gases or metal atoms inside buckyballs or other types of carbon cages can endow the structures with unique electronic properties. Such structures could serve as transistors in molecular-scale electronic devices or as contrast agents for medical imaging, some researchers say. However, previous strategies for trapping tiny things inside carbon cages are inefficient and require extreme conditions.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.