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Endohedral Metallofullerenes: Applications of a New Class of Carbonaceous Nanomaterials

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During the last 25 years, a number of new carbonaceous nanomaterials have been discovered including fullerenes, endohedral metallofullerenes, nanotubes, nanohorns, graphene, and endofullerenes. Of particular interest in this review, the encapsulation of metals provides new opportunities for various applications in one class of endofullerenes, endohedral metallofullerenes (EMFs). In bio-medical applications, EMFs, because of their shapes, capacity for multiple endo encapsulants, isolation from the bio-environment, and exo functionalizability, are ideal nano-constructs on which to engineer next-generation diagnostic and therapeutic biomedical nanoprobes. In one rapidly developing application, gadolinium encapsulated EMFs are leading candidates as next generation magnetic resonance imaging MRI contrast agents. To date, in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated in several studies markedly enhanced 1H MRI relaxivity (∼2 orders of magnitude) for functionalized gadolinium EMFs in comparison with common, commercially-available clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents. Other potential applications range from heterojunction photovoltaic acceptor components for solar cells to next generation qubit components for quantum computing. It is remarkable that 15–20 years ago encapsulation of metals in carbon cages were first characterized in detail and yet in the last 5–10 years numerous applications are now emerging.
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Keywords: ENDOHEDRAL METALLOFULLERENES; FULLERENES; MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING CONTRAST AGENTS; NANOMATERIALS; PHOTOVOLTAICS; QUANTUM COMPUTING; SOLAR CELLS

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters (NNL) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating nanoscale research activities in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. NNL provides the means for scientists, engineers, medical experts and technocrats to publish original short research articles as communications/letters of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of the physical sciences, engineering and medicine.
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