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A fullerene is a type of carbon molecule with a particular construction using physical shapes such as a sphere or tube. These molecules may also feature hexagonal and pentagonal shapes. Fullerenes are useful in some types of IT applications, notably, in the construction of nanotechnologies.
Various types of fullerenes include “buckyballs,” which are spherical. Cylindrical fullerenes are also called “buckytubes” or carbon nanotubes. One of the interesting properties of fullerenes is that they can be man-made, or found in nature, for instance, where the construction of natural organic elements such as graphite have sheets of carbon atoms arranged in hexagons.
By manipulating elements on a molecular level, scientists are able to build fullerenes such as carbon nanotubes for research and design for nanomaterials or other purposes. Other types of fullerenes include megatubes, which are larger than carbon nanotubes, and polymers formed under pressure, as well as individual spherical buckyballs linked via carbon chain.