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Hydrogen-Driven Cage Unzipping of C60 into Nano-Graphenes

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015 by Alexandr V. Talyzin, Serhiy Luzan, Ilya V. Anoshkin, Albert G. Nasibulin, Esko I. Kauppinnen, Andrzej Dzwilewski, Ahmed Kreta, Janko Jamnik, Abdou Hassanien, Anna Lundstedt, Helena Grennberg
Annealing of C60 in hydrogen at temperatures above the stability limit of C–H bonds in C60Hx (500–550 °C) is found to result in direct collapse of the cage structure, evaporation of light hydrocarbons, and formation of solid mixture composed of larger hydrocarbons and few-layered graphene sheets. Only a minor part of this mixture is soluble; this was analyzed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization MS, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and found to be a rather complex mixture of hydrocarbon molecules composed of at least tens of different compounds. The sequence of most abundant peaks observed in MS, which corresponds to C2H2 mass difference, suggests a stepwise breakup of the fullerene cage into progressively smaller molecular fragments edge-terminated by hydrogen. A simple model of hydrogen-driven C60 unzipping is proposed to explain the observed sequence of fragmentation products. The insoluble part of the product mixture consists of large planar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as evidenced by FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, and some larger sheets composed of few-layered graphene, as observed by transmission electron microscopy. Hydrogen annealing of C60 thin films showed a thickness-dependent results with reaction products significantly different for the thinnest films compared to bulk powders. Hydrogen annealing of C60 films with the thickness below 10 nm was found to result in formation of nanosized islands with Raman spectra very similar to the spectra of coronene oligomers and conductivity typical for graphene.