Buckyballs and diffuse interstellar bands
The article titled Buckyballs in space solve 100-year-old riddle notes:
In 1919, Mary Lea Heger, a graduate student at the University of California’s Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, saw that particular wavelengths of light were dimmed in the emissions from certain stars, in a way that seemed unrelated to the stars themselves. As astronomers spotted more such features, they attributed them to molecules in the interstellar gas that absorb wavelengths of light on their way to Earth, and called them diffuse interstellar bands (DIB). Some 400 DIBs have now been observed, from across the Milky Way and beyond. (...)
Now, a laboratory analysis of the light absorbed by buckyballs — hollow, soccer-ball shaped molecules made up of 60 carbon atoms — under space-like conditions has provided direct match for DIBs seen in 19941. They are the first DIBs to be explained.
Maier’s team analysed that behaviour by measuring the light-absorption of buckyballs at a temperature of near-absolute zero and in an extremely high vacuum, achieved by trapping the ions using electric fields, in a buffer of neutral helium gas.
One notes that early on, ion-trap mass spectrometry was used to determine whether or not CH5+ could be the origin of some diffuse interstellar bands.
Earl S. Ensberg, et al., entitled “The Visible Photodissociation Spectrum of Ionized Methane”,
published in The Astrophysical Journal, 195; pp. L89-L91, Jan. 15, 1975.
Also: Keith Jefferts
**Separately, of -- Ever since buckyballs were accidentally discovered in 1985 3 --
with 3 = Kroto, H. W. et al. Nature 318, 162–163 (1985)
note the paper published in 1984:
Rohlfing, EA., Cox, D.M. & Kaldor, A. Journal of Chemical Physics 81. 3322-3330 (1984).
****In passing, from MaterialsToday :
US case law also prohibits a composition of matter patent, where the applicant is merely seeking to patent a new use for a known, existing material. However, the issue of patentability of inventions comprising known materials often turns on whether new and/or improved properties result when the known material is manipulated at the nanoscale. By showing that properties are unique to the nanomaterial and not present at the macroscale, inventors are more likely to have a patent granted.