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Atoms in buckyball cages.

It doesn't take much to trap a lanthanum atom inside a buckyball. Robert D. Johnson and his colleagues at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., create such metallofullerenes by drilling a hole in a graphite rod, stuffing the hole with a mixture of graphite and metal powders, then vaporizing the rod with an electric arc. Of the fullerenes found in the resulting soot, about 1 percent contain metal atoms.

Johnson and his colleagues are particularly interested in determining the electronic properties of these encapsulated atoms. In the case of a lanthanum atom inside a C82 cage (see illustration), spectroscopic studies suggest that the trapped atom loses three electrons, which migrate to the carbon cage. Thus, the cage ends up with a negative charge, and the atom becomes an ion with a positive charge.
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Title Annotation:creating metallofullerenes by trapping lanthanum atoms inside buckyballs
Author:Peterson, Ivars
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 27, 1993
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