Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boron Buckyball: Materials Scientists Find Stable, Spherical Form For Boron

Date:
April 26, 2007
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
A new study from Rice University predicts the existence and stability of another "buckyball" consisting entirely of boron atoms. The research shows a stable structure for a molecular sphere of 80 boron atoms.

Boron Buckyball
Credit: Boris Yakobson/Rice University

A new study by Rice University scientists predicts the existence and stability of another "buckyball" consisting entirely of boron atoms.

Related Articles


The research, which is being published in Physical Review Letters, was conducted bv Boris Yakobson, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of chemistry, and his associates Nevill Gonzalez Szwacki and Arta Sadrzadeh.

The original buckyball, a cage-shaped molecule of 60 carbon atoms, was discovered at Rice by Robert Curl, Harold Kroto and Richard Smalley in 1985. The boron buckyball is structurally similar to the original C60 fullerene, but it has an additional atom in the center of each hexagon, which significantly increases stability.

"This is the first prediction of its possible existence," Yakobson said of the boron buckyball, or B80. "This has not been observed or even conceived of before. We do hope it may lead to a significant breakthrough."

In the earliest stages of their work, the team attempted to build a "buckyball" using silicon atoms but determined that it would collapse on itself. Their search for another possible atom led them on a short trip across the periodic table.

"Boron is nearby (one atomic unit from carbon). One reason we tried it was because of proximity," Yakobson said. "Boron also has the ability to catenate, to stick together better, than other atoms, which also made it appealing."

Initial work with 60 boron atoms failed to create a hollow ball that would hold its form, so another boron atom was placed into the center of each hexagon for added stability.

Yakobson estimated that the scientific work, the consideration of the variety of boron clusters to single out the B80, took more than a year, with Szwacki initially leading the work and then Sadrzadeh gradually taking greater part in the effort. "We thought we had the answer, essentially, after three or four months, but then we had to prove it," Yakobson said. "There are numerous possibilities, but we had to prove that this was the answer. I think we've made a convincing case."

Yakobson said it is too early to speculate whether the boron buckyball will prove to be equally or more useful than its Nobel Prize-winning sibling. "It's too early to make comparisons," he said. "All we know is that it's a very logical, very stable structure likely to exist.

"But this opens up a whole new direction, a whole new continent to explore. There should be a strong effort to find it experimentally. That may not be an easy path, but we gave them a good road map."

Following the paper's acceptance, there was a little debate with the journal's editors about whether or not the structure could be named "buckyball." Yakobson mentioned this to Curl.

"Bob (Curl) said with a chuckle that it was more of a 'buckyball' than his buckyball," Yakobson said. The reason being that C60 was named for famed architect Buckminster Fuller, because the buckyball looked like conjoined geodesic domes, a structure that Fuller had invented.

"When Fuller made his domes, he made them from triangles because hexagons would collapse," Yakobson said. "In B80, we fill the hexagon with one more atom, making triangles." "It is very helpful that this work can be seen and this is just a good instrument for it," he said. "To be able to deliver it to this broad a base of physicists and chemists is a good start."

The research was supported by the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Defense.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Boron Buckyball: Materials Scientists Find Stable, Spherical Form For Boron." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423111604.htm>.
Rice University. (2007, April 26). Boron Buckyball: Materials Scientists Find Stable, Spherical Form For Boron. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423111604.htm
Rice University. "Boron Buckyball: Materials Scientists Find Stable, Spherical Form For Boron." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423111604.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins