Photolytic breakdown of fullerene C 60 cages in an aqueous suspension

Rodica Gelca, Kazimierz Surowiec, Todd A. Anderson, Stephen B. Cox

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3 Scopus citations


Fullerene C 60, a class of carbon nanomaterials, is widely used and is likely to reach the environment. The degradation and transformation of C 60 aqueous suspensions exposed to simulated sunlight were studied. C 60 aqueous suspensions prepared by stirring pristine C 60 in water under sunlight exposure undergo breakdown with formation of a mixture of compounds with unknown chemical structure. The mass and infrared spectrometric analysis of the breakdown products shows the presence of broken C 60 cages, as well as of oxygen and hydrogen atoms in their structure. The presence of oxygen in the breakdown products indicates a possible interaction of C 60 molecule with oxygen from the air as well as with water. Interaction with water could also explain the presence of H atoms in the breakdown products. This demonstrates that fullerenes C 60 are not stable in the environment and that the breakdown products should be considered when evaluating the environmental impact of fullerenes C 60.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1229
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Aqueous suspension
  • Cage breakdown
  • Environment
  • Fullerene
  • Simulated sunlight
  • Spectrometric analysis


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