Formation and reinforcement of clusters composed of C60 molecules
© Kurosu et al; licensee Springer. 2011
Received: 25 August 2010
Accepted: 12 January 2011
Published: 12 January 2011
We carry out two experiments: (1) the formation of clusters composed of C60 molecules via self-assembly and (2) the reinforcement of the clusters. Firstly, clusters such as fibres and helices composed of C60 molecules are produced via self-assembly in supercritical carbon dioxide. However, C60 molecules are so weakly bonded to each other in the clusters that the clusters are broken by the irradiation of electron beams during scanning electron microscope observation. Secondly, UV photons are irradiated inside a chamber in which air is filled at 1 atm and the above clusters are placed, and it was found that the clusters are reinforced; that is, they are not broken by electron beams any more. C60 molecules located at the surface of the clusters are oxidised, i.e. C60O n molecules, where n = 1, 2, 3 and 4, are produced according to time-of-flight mass spectroscopy. It is supposed that oxidised C60 molecules at the surface of the clusters may have an important role for the reinforcement, but the actual mechanism of the reinforcement of the clusters has not yet been clearly understood and therefore is an open question.
It is known that clusters composed of C60 molecules such as chains and sheets can be formed by polymerising C60 molecules via the irradiation of photons [1–13], application of high pressure and/or high temperature [3, 5, 6, 14–17], or introduction of foreign atoms or molecules [18–20]. It is also known that C60 molecules can be modified with oxygen atoms and molecules [21–30].
The gas-liquid coexistence curves terminate at the critical points . Incident light cannot penetrate fluids as they approach their critical points, known as critical opalescence, due to the formation of large molecular clusters . It was recently shown that fibres, fibre networks, sheets and helices composed of C60 molecules were self-assembled by leaving C60 crystals in ethane, xenon or carbon dioxide under supercritical conditions for 24 h . Those structures were formed via van der Waals interactions between C60 and the fluids' molecules.
In this letter, we create clusters composed of C60 molecules via self-assembly in supercritical carbon dioxide and reinforce the clusters by attaching oxygen atoms to the surface of C60 molecules.
We will be investigating the mechanism of the reinforcement of the clusters, that is, the role of oxidised C60 molecules (C60O n ) located at the surface of the clusters, in the reinforcement process in detail, carrying out quantum mechanical calculations. We will also be measuring the electric, electronic, mechanical and thermal properties of the fibres and helices so that the clusters may be utilised for the development of nano electron devices, nano/microelectromechanical systems and micro-total analysis systems.
We carried out two experiments: (1) Crystals composed of C60 molecules were placed in supercritical carbon dioxide (36.0°C), and it was found that fibres, fibre networks and helices composed of C60 molecules were self-assembled. Since C60 molecules in the clusters were bonded to each other via van der Waals interactions , the clusters were easily broken by the irradiation of electron beams during the SEM observation. (2) The clusters were placed in another chamber filled with air at 1 atm and irradiated with UV photons. Oxygen molecules were dissociated by UV photons, C60 molecules at the surface of the clusters were oxidised, and C60O n molecules were created. The clusters were not broken by the electron beams any more. It is supposed that C60O n molecules located at the surface of the clusters may have an important role in the reinforcement process, but the actual mechanism of the reinforcement of the clusters has not yet been clearly understood and therefore is an open question.
Part of the present study has been supported by a Grant for High-Tech Research Centres organised by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. T. Fukuda would like to thank MEXT for their financial support.
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