Fullerene C60 is referred to as buckminster fullerene. It resembles a football, and it is very stable. It can withstand high temperature and pressure. In fact, it is selectively reactive, and it can still maintain its spherical geometry while reacting with other species. There are 60 carbon atoms present in a cage-like structure. This is due to the presence of 12 pentagonal and 20 hexagonal rings. Thanks to its desirable properties, it finds a wide range of industrial applications. C60 fullerene has a selective solubility in different solutions.
There are different phases in which the fullerene is produced industrially on a large scale. The basic method of production fullerene C60 is the arc method. Thereafter, it undergoes extraction and separation process. In the separation process, each of the fullerene molecules is separated, and hence, the output is the purest form of fullerene. After this, there is the synthesis of the derivatives which are mostly used in the industrial applications. Other than that, there are other post-processing works like dispersion and likewise.
Chemical Properties –
The most interesting property of fullerene is that it has different solubility in different solutions. Among its chemical property, hydrogenation comes first. It exhibits aromatic property leading to poly-hydro-fullerenes. It also reacts with lithium, and it can be re-oxidized to get back fullerene again. The hydrogenation is also selective.
Then comes the chemical property of halogenation. It is reactive with fluorine, chlorine, bromine and likewise. Halogenated derivatives of fullerene can be produced under various conditions. The shape of the buckyball gets flattened on halogenating fullerene. Besides, it can be oxygenated.
Moreover, free radical reaction enables fullerene for various medical applications and the most important one out of them is the suppression of tumor and even cancer. Apart from that, the cycloadditions, cyclopropanation, and redox reactions are also possible.
There are many non-medical industrial applications of C60 fullerene. It is used in the preparation of paintwork materials, electronics industry to replace diamond usage and for the coating to prevent rusting as well as in the preparation of polymeric materials. As a matter of fact, the greater application of fullerene as of now is in the cosmetology. Besides, it is used in the machinery and automotive industry for coating, powder metallurgy, and as lubricants.
But in the future, it can be a cure for cancer and tumors. The application is still under observation as it can make the targeted cells die. This is achieved by turning the oxygen in the cancer cells into reactive oxygen radical. This process is called photo-chemotherapy, and it is surely going to be a better alternative to radiation therapy. Other than that, it finds application in the MRIX-ray imaging, gene delivery, drug delivery and much more.