Photolytic Breakdown of Fullerene C60 Cages in an Aqueous Suspension
Fullerene C60, a class of carbon nanomaterials, is widely used and is likely to reach the environment. The degradation and transformation of C60 aqueous suspensions exposed to simulated sunlight were studied. C60 aqueous suspensions prepared by stirring pristine C60 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 C60 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 C60 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 C60 are not stable in the environment and that the breakdown products should be considered when evaluating the environmental impact of fullerenes C60.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: February 1, 2011
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