Buckyball sandwiches

09. Juni 2017

The study of molecules via transmission electron microscopy is extremely challenging, because they tend to break apart under the intense electron irradiation required for imaging. In our recently published study, we encapsulated a single layer of fullerene molecules between two graphene sheets. These "buckyball sandwiches" combine for the first time soccerball-like fullerenes, each consisting of sixty carbon atoms, and graphene, a one-atom thick layer of carbon. This structure allows the study of the dynamics of the trapped molecules down to atomic resolution. We observed diffusion of individual molecules confined in the two-dimensional space, found evidence for the rotation of isolated fullerenes within the structure, and even followed their merging into larger molecular clusters.

University press release: Graphene encapsulation provides unprecedented view of the diffusion and rotation of fullerene molecules

Publication: R. Mirzayev, K. A. Mustonen, M. R. A. Monazam, A. Mittelberger, T. J. Pennycook, C. Mangler, T. Susi, J. Kotakoski, J. C. Meyer, Buckyball sandwiches. Sci. Adv. 3, e1700176 (2017)
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700176