Formation of nickel clusters wrapped in carbon cages: towards new endohedral metallofullerene synthesis

Nano Letters 17, 1082 - 1089 (2017)

Formation of nickel clusters wrapped in carbon cages: towards new endohedral metallofullerene synthesis

Alexander S. Sinitsa, Thomas W. Chamberlain, Thilo Zoberbier, Irina V. Lebedeva, Andrey M. Popov, Andrey A. Knizhnik, Robert L. McSweeney, Johannes Biskupek, Ute Kaiser, Andrei N. Khlobystov

In spite of the high potential of endohedral metallofullerenes (EMFs) for application in biology, medicine and molecular electronics and recent efforts in EMF synthesis, the variety of EMFs accessible by conventional synthetic methods remains limited and does not include, for example, EMFs of late transition metals. We propose a method in which EMF formation is initiated by electron irradiation in aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron spectroscopy (AC-HRTEM) of a metal cluster surrounded by amorphous carbon inside a carbon nanotube serving as a nano-reactor and apply this method for synthesis of nickel EMFs. The use of AC-HRTEM makes it possible not only to synthesize new, previously unattainable nanoobjects but also to study in situ the mechanism of structural transformations. Molecular dynamics simulations using the state-of-the-art approach for modeling the effect of electron irradiation are performed to rationalise the experimental observations and to link the observed processes with conditions of bulk EMF synthesis.

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Doi
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b04607
arxiv
http://arxiv.org/abs/1708.01542

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