Boron Buckyball Structure Discovered, Will Have Immense Potential in Nanotechnology

Posted on Jul 14 2014 - 4:24pm by Ally Stackhouse

Buckminsterfullerene has become a very important component in nanotechnology and scientists have created a Buckyball while working on different molecular structure of Boron. The new material just like the Buckball which was created using Carbon is hollow and could find immense use in nanotechnology.


Research on creating the Boron Buckyball was spearheaded by scientists from Brown University, along with colleagues in Shanxi University and Tsinghua University in China. Though their discovery has no implications today, it could have immense possibilities in nanotechnology in the future.

A theoretical model of the Boron molecule which was similar to the Buckyball was in place but it was never physically verified in experiments until it was created by these researchers. The research involved complex computer modeling of more than 10,000 structures of Boron and then identifying each by its binding energy. Further testing by photoelectron spectroscopy revealed the energies of the actual molecules and this enabled the structures to be identified.

There were actually two 40 atom structures which were formed by the Boron atoms. The first was the hollow Buckyball resembling structure while the second one was a semi flat molecule. The Boron Buckyball is important because it is the predecessor to the future nanotechnology advances.

The 40 atom Boron Buckyball has been christened borospherene by the scientists that discovered it. The Buckminsterfullerene was first discovered in 1985 and it laid the foundation of nanotechnology. The Carbon hollow nano tubes were touted as the material along with another carbon product, Graphene, will transform the 21st century. Graphene is a thin layer of incredible strength and was discovered immediately after the discovery of Buckminsterfullerene.

The research was led by Lai-Sheng Wang, a professor of chemistry at Brown University and he has no clue about how his discovery will be used.

Wang said “Of course if it turns out to be useful that would be great, but we don’t know yet. Hopefully this initial finding will stimulate further interest in boron clusters and new ideas to synthesize them in bulk quantities.”

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