Before the nanotechnology entry, the number of knowncarbon allotropes were limitid to grahite, diamond andamorphous carbon as soot and charcoal.In 1996. the Nobel Price in chemistry was awarded to Kroto,Curl ans Smalley for their roles in the discovery of what wascalled a C
- fulleren, a new kind of a carbon allotrope. The
was named after a noted architectual modeler,who popularized the geodesic dome.In the nature, fullerene C
molecules areproduced, and can be found hidden in soot, and formed bylightning discharges in the atmosphere.The form of these fullerene molecules resembles a soccerball of the type made of twenty hexagons and twelvepentagons. The nucleous diameter of a C
molecule isabout 0.71 nm.A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, inthe form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. Spherical fullerenes are also called
and cylindrical ones are also called nanotube or buckytubes.Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stackedgraphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings, but they may also contain pentagonaland sometimes hexagonal rings.
Nanotubes are cylindrical fullerenes. Such tubesof carbon are only a few nm wide, but they canrange from less than a micrometer to severalmillimeters in length. They often has closedends, but can as well be open-ended. Theirunique molecular structure gives extraordinaryproperties, including high tensile strength, highelectrical conductivity , high ductility, highresistance to heat and relative chemicalinactivity. The use of carbon nanotubes in high-tensil cables required for a space elevator hasbeen proposed.These pictures show what is called single-wallednanotubes. They are an important variety of