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SCIENTISTS AT SRI INTERNATIONAL AND DU PONT ENCASE METAL CRYSTALS INSIDE SUPER-GIANT FULLERENES

 MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Scientists at SRI International and Du Pont have succeeded in encasing metal crystals in "super-giant" fullerene particles, creating an intriguing new class of materials with many application possibilities.
 In work reported in the Jan. 15 issue of Science, the research team encapsulated crystals of lanthanum dicarbide inside a closed carbon shell. Like lanthanum, one of the rare-earth metals, lanthanum dicarbide is air-sensitive, but was protected and preserved in cavities inside the polyhedral particles.
 Fullerenes are a recently discovered form of carbon consisting of 60 or 70 atom clusters arranged in soccer-ball-like cage structures, which allows them to be combined with other molecules to form carbon- based derivatives with possible uses as lubricants, coatings, catalysts and in electronic devices.
 The particles used in the SRI/Du Pont experiments consist of several nested layers of fullerenes enclosing internal cavities of various sizes. Moving up from the atomic to the nanoscale level, these 100-angstrom-diameter particles are 10 times larger than regular fullerenes.
 Although single metal atoms have been encased in a fullerene, the larger super-giant particles could serve as container vessels for pure or carbide forms of metals in amounts that might facilitate use in electromagnetic devices. Encapsulation of ferromagnetic atoms such as iron or nickel, for example, could lead to new materials for magnetic storage media.
 Other possibilities for carbon nanoparticles, which are readily soluble, include applications calling for time-delayed release of sensitive contents.
 The nanoparticles are created with a carbon arc generator in the same process used to produce fullerenes and nanotubes, another type of carbon structure whose properties are being studied at SRI and other research organizations.
 The SRI/Du Pont scientists are the first researchers to demonstrate the feasibility of exploiting the nanoparticles' cavity-pocked internal structures.
 The research team included Rodney S. Ruoff, Donald C. Lorents, Bryan Chan and Ripudaman Malhotra from SRI's Molecular Physics Laboratory in Menlo Park. They were joined by Shekhar Subramoney at the Du Pont Co.'s experimental station in Wilmington, Del.
 SRI International provides research, development and consulting services for businesses and governments worldwide.
 In addition to basic studies of the thermal, electrical, optical and solid state properties of fullerenes, nanotubes and nanoparticles, SRI scientists are developing methods for their large-scale production as well as techniques for controlled deposition of such materials as coatings and thin films and in composite materials.
 -0- 1/18/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Kloss of Corporate Communications at SRI International, 415-859-2547/


CO: SRI International; Du Pont Co. ST: California, Delaware IN: CHM SU:

GT-SG -- SJ002 -- 5928 01/18/93 14:01 EST
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Date:Jan 18, 1993
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