QM(DFT) and MD studies on formation mechanisms of C60 fullerenes Academic Article uri icon


  • One of the most puzzling aspects of fullerenes is how such complicated symmetric molecules are formed from a gas of atomic carbons, namely, the atomistic or chemical mechanisms. Are the atoms added one by one or as molecules (C2, C3)? Is there a critical nucleus beyond which formation proceeds at gas kinetic rates? What determines the balance between forming buckyballs, buckytubes, graphite and soot? The answer to these questions is extremely important in manipulating the systems to achieve particular products. A difficulty in current experiments is that the products can only be detected on time scales of microseconds long after many of the important formation steps have been completed. Consequently, it is necessary to use simulations, quantum mechanics and molecular dynamics, to determine these initial states. Experiments serve to provide the boundary conditions that severely limit the possibilities. Using quantum mechanical methods (density functional theory (DFT)) we derived a force field (MSXX FF) to describe one-dimensional (rings) and two-dimensional (fullerene) carbon molecules. Combining DFT with the MSXX FF, we calculated the energetics for the ring fusion spiral zipper (RFSZ) mechanism for formation of C60 fullerenes. Our results shows that the RFSZ mechanism is consistent with the quantum mechanics (with a slight modification for some of the intermediates).

published proceedings

  • Nanotechnology

author list (cited authors)

  • Hua, X., agin, T., Che, J., & Goddard, W. A.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Hua, Xinlei||Çagin, Tahir||Che, Jianwei||Goddard, William A

publication date

  • June 2000