C60 stands for a football-shaped carbon molecule with 60 corners or better said with 60 atoms... It is harder than diamond under pressure, but is soft and smooth without pressure and yet very stable. Carbon is the substance of life, and the C60 molecule is a very special form. In nature it is found in rocks, especially the Shungite stones, which are mostly found in Russia. For centuries, scientists and doctors have puzzled over the mysterious healing effects of many illnesses by bathing in lakes or drinking the water that contain shungite stones.
Based on calculations, in 1970, Japanese scientist Eiji Osawa initially predicted the existence of C60. But only in 1985 three researchers Richard E. Smalley, Robert F. Curl jr. and Harold W. Kroto succeeded in producing a small amount of C60 fullerenes. For this they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. In 1990, the two researchers Kratschmer and Huffmann succeeded in producing C60 fullerenes in larger quantities.
The C60 molecule was named after the architect Buckminster Fuller in recognition of his work building geodesic domes that they so closely resemble. In 2010, a Canadian research group led by Jan Cami from the University of Western Ontario succeeded in detecting large quantities of C60 fullerenes in the infrared emission spectrum of a planetary nebula using images from the NASA Spitzer infrared telescope. This is considered to be a great sensation and there are speculations regarding C60 up to the "seed of life" because substances such as hydrogen find a protected space in the cage-like structure of the C60 molecules and thus become almost indestructible when entering the atmosphere of the earth.
The possible applications are so diverse that we will write another blog post about it. In medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and finally as semiconductors up to new quantum computers, a great deal seems to be possible with these unique fullerenes.