The Hawai`i Space Lecture Series


Buckyballs from Space

Tuesday - May 2, 2000 - 7:30pm

Dr. Luanne Becker
Planetary Scientist
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology

In this lecture, Dr. Becker will report on the discovery of naturally occurring fullerenes (C60 to C400) in sediment samples from the 65 million-year-old Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary layer (KTB) and in the Allende and Murchison carbonaceous chondrites. Unlike the other pure forms of carbon (diamond, and graphite), fullerenes are extractable in an organic solvent (e.g.toluene or 1,2,4 trichlorobenzene). The recognition of this unique property led to the detection and isolation of the higher fullerenes in the Kratschmer/Huffmann arc evaporated graphite soot and in the carbon material in the meteorite and impact deposits. By further exploiting the unique ability of the fullerene cage structure to encapsulate and retain noble gases, we have determined that the KTB fullerenes and the Allende and Murchison fullerenes contain trapped noble gases with ratios that can only be described as extraterrestrial in origin.

This presentation will be held at the
NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center
Sinclair Library Basement, Rm. 6
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 956-3132


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