Today's Friday beautiful science shows the construction of a Buckeyball in action. From the News Release:
heating bends single-atomic-layer carbon sheets into nano bowls, and then adds more carbon atoms to the edge of the bowls until the formation of giant fullerenes — larger, less stable versions of the C-60 molecule. Continued application of heat reduces these fullerenes — “shrink-wrapping” is the favored term — to the size of stable C-60 molecules, the buckyball: the smallest stable arrangement of carbon atoms in that shape.Way cool. Follow the link to check out a live-action movie. Neat!
In further heating, the buckyball vanishes, providing more proof that the buckyball stage had been reached.
Buckyball codiscoverer (1985) and Nobel laureate (1996) Richard Smalley had hypothesized that buckyballs are formed in this fashion, but at his death in 2005 no experimental confirmation was yet available and other methods have been proposed.