Searching For Stable Fullerenes In Space With Computational Chemistry

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 11, 2019
Filed under
Searching For Stable Fullerenes In Space With Computational Chemistry
Fullerenes in Space

We report a computational study of the stability and infrared (IR) vibrational spectra of neutral and singly ionised fullerene cages containing between 44 and 70 carbon atoms.

The stability is characterised in terms of the standard enthalpy of formation per CC bond, the HOMO-LUMO gap, and the energy required to eliminate a C2 fragment. We compare the simulated IR spectra of these fullerene species to the observed emission spectra of several planetary nebulae (Tc 1, SMP SMC 16, and SMP LMC 56) where strong C60 emission has been detected. Although we could not conclusively identify fullerenes other than C60 and C70, our results point to the possible presence of smaller (44, 50, and 56-atom) cages in those astronomical objects. Observational confirmation of our prediction should become possible when the James Webb Space Telescope comes online.

Alessandra Candian, Marina Gomes Rachid, Heather MacIsaac, Viktor N. Staroverov, Els Peeters, Jan Cami
(Submitted on 8 Feb 2019)

Comments: 11 pages, 13 figures, 1 table. Accepted for publication on MNRAS
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA); Chemical Physics (physics.chem-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:1902.03090 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:1902.03090v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Alessandra Candian
[v1] Fri, 8 Feb 2019 14:22:38 UTC (9,557 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻