Boron buckyballs

A bit of hellraisin’ on a Friday night don’t do nobody no harm so it’s no surprise to see them chemists going at it hammer ‘n tong. Makes ’em seem almost human.

The barney is over the shape of a molecule (might have guessed, right?).

Earlier this year, Nevill “Eye Test” Szwacki at Rice University in Texas dreamt up a new kinda buckyball made outta boron atoms rather than carbon. Szwacki reckons B-80 looks just like the carbon footballs y’all familiar with, ‘cept they have an extra atom at the centre of each hexagonal face.

Now Arnout “White coat” Ceulemans at the University of Leuven in Belgium has studied the structure using quantum chemical calculations and says that it ain’t football-shaped after all. Instead the ball is puckered, as if somebody let the air out.

Nobody has actually made B-80 and it might be a while before the matter is settled: after carbon footballs were first dreamt up, it took 20 years for somebody to actually synthesize one.

Ref: The Boron Buckyball has an Unexpected Th Symmetry

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