Soccerball-shaped fullerenes can be synthesized from flakes of graphene sheet.
The fullerenes have been studied for a quarter of a century, but a clear understanding of how they form has remained elusive. Usually, they are produced by the breakdown of graphite using a blast of energy from a laser or electric arc. The mechanism was thought to involve small clusters of carbon clumping together to form a fullerene. Now, Andrei Khlobystov of the University of Nottingham, UK, and colleagues, have discovered that graphene, which is akin to a single graphite layer, blasted with an electron beam forms flakes that rearrange into fullerene cages.
Direct transformation of graphene to fullerene
An. Chuvilin, U. Kaiser , E. Bichoutskaia, N. A. Besley, A. N. Khlobystov,
Nature Chem. 2010, online