Carbon, cubicle-shaped

Published: Tuesday 30 June 1998

Properties of carbon, the vital element for life on the Earth, are still being discovered. Only a decade ago, a new form of carbon, Carbon-60, was discovered. Now, Y Saito and his team at Mie University of Japan have produced a new form of graphitic nano cages that are cubic in shape. Nano cages are structures formed by carbon molecules that are finding extensive use in material science. Till now, they have been produced in tubular, spherical and conical shapes. Saito's team used arc evaporation of carbon with alkaline earth metals like calcium or strontium to produce cubes containing about 5 to 20 layers of graphitic carbon that had edges 20 to 100 nanometres (a billionth of a metre). Researchers feel that the new geometry of the cages could be used for shielding the inner materials from moisture effectively ( Nature , Vol 392, No 6673).

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