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A "nano-onion" structure - A new material with highly resilient mechanical behaviour, made of nitrogen doped fullerenes

Christian Colliex (April 2002)

The identification of the atomic structure of fullerene molecules (C60), followed by that of simple or multiwall carbon nanotubes, has offered to the physicists superb nanometre-sized objects. They hastily observed, analysed and manipulated them, before integrating them into prototypes of functionalised systems (basic elements for logical circuits, for instance). It is now possible to finely control the physical and chemical properties of a C60-based material, by incorporating (insertion or substitution) foreign atoms into the C60 molecules. Researchers from the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides d’Orsay, in collaboration with a Swedish team (directed by Lars Hultman, Linköping University), has synthesised a new material by substituting nitrogen atoms to the carbon ones in giant fullerene molecules embedded within one another such as successive onion peels and with a core enriched in nitrogen. Overall dimension : only a few nanometres...

Theoretical simulation of an aza-fullerene molecule (C48N12). U. Linköping (Suède)

Local analysis by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) of a "nano-onion". LPS, Orsay (France)

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