New fullerenes in the B-C-N system: Synthesis and analysis by an electron beam

Dmitri Golberg, Yoshio Bando, Odile Stéphan, Laure Bourgeois, Keiji Kurashima, Takayoshi Sasaki, Tadao Sato, Chris Goringe

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Numerous fullerenes were synthesized in various B-C-N materials by in-situ electron beam irradiation in a high-resolution transmission analytical electron microscope JEM-3000F. Boron-doped graphitic carbons, hexagonal and rhombohedral boron nitrides, and ternary B-C-N turbostratic materials served as the starting materials for irradiation. The transformation to fullerene-like morphology from originally fiat or curled and jumbled graphene-like sheets or polygonal particles takes place through a solid-state phase transition by rearrangement of atoms, which is drastically enhanced by thermal and irradiation-induced diffusion. The scale of generated fullerenes ranges from ~1 nm (single-shelled objects) to 50 nm (giant nested objects having up to 75 shells). Fullerene symmetry and chemical composition were clarified by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy, respectively. Finally, 3-D fullerene models were developed which particularly emphasize icosahedral symmetry for B-C and B-C-N fullerenes, and octahedral symmetry for BN fullerenes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-709
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electron Microscopy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron energy loss spectroscopy
  • Electron irradiation
  • Fullerenes
  • High-resolution analytical electron microscopy

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