With their strange 60-atom structures, buckyballs could have potential as drug carriers, medical tracers, cancer fighters and other interesting applications in the human body, but studies examining their impact on the body have had mixed results. A group of French researchers set out to study its toxicity and other effects, and came up with a surprising find — not only are buckyballs safe, a buckyball diet doubled the lifespan of lab rats.
This squishy ball, inspired by an equally cute kid’s toy, is a breakthrough in a new class of three-dimensional structures that can buckle reversibly. It starts out as an inflated sphere, and if you suck the air out of it, it buckles down along its dimples into a smaller ball 46 percent its original size. It looks sort of like a buckyball, so its creators at MIT nicknamed it a “buckliball.”
The space discoveries are piling up this week. Next up: Astronomers working with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered buckyballs in space for the very first time, putting an end to a decades-long search for the largest molecules now known to exist in space.
Adorable buckyballs can act as soccer-ball-shaped molecular cages to deliver designer drugs or even radioactive particles to attack diseases such as cancer. Now scientists have found that a certain buckyball configuration can put human skin cells into a sort of suspended animation where they don't die, divide, or grow -- a toxic condition for the human body that might also lead to possible treatments.
Chemotherapy is notorious for the toll it takes on the entire body. It kills cancer cells, sure, but it kills a lot of healthy cells, too. But soon a new advance in carbon chemistry may replace the shotgun blast of chemo with a radiation sniper shot.
Imagine flying an airplane, watching a television or using a laptop computer made, at least in part, from a paper 500 times stronger and 10 times lighter than steel. It's no ordinary paper; it's "buckypaper"—a nanotechnology material that looks like carbon paper and is made out of tube-shaped carbon molecules 50,000 times thinner than a human hair. The material's strength, however, comes when it's stacked and pressed together to form a composite, giving it the ability to conduct electricity like copper and disperse heat like steel.