Monday, August 8, 2011

The buckyball traps a single water molecule!

I thought this was sort of a cute story.

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan published an article in Science in which they determined that a fullerene C60 (buckminsterfullerene, buckyball, etc.) carbon cage molecule can trap a single water molecule. So what? Well, water molecules are notoriously difficult to separate (maybe impossible using other isolation methods?). This capture in a fullerene cage may be a way to study water molecules without the influence of the ever-present effects of hydrogen bonding. I'm not sure if this is going to be a successful way to study the properties of individual molecules of water, but it's a great start.

Literature cited:

Kurotobi K and Murata Y. A single molecule of water encapsulated in fullerene C60. Science. 2011 Jul 29;333(6042):613-6.

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