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Exploration and characterization of new synthesis methods for C60 colloidal suspensions in water

Hilburn, Martha E.
Buckminsterfullerene, C60, has been used in the production of several commercial products from badminton racquets and lubricants for their mechanical properties to cosmetics and even dietary supplements for their "antioxidant" properties. Multi-ton production of C60 began in 2003 encouraging serious consideration of its fate in the environment in the case of an accidental release or improper disposal. Although C60 is practically insoluble in water, it readily forms stable aqueous colloidal suspensions (termed nC60) through solvent exchange methods or long-term vigorous stirring in water. Two new solvent exchange methods for synthesizing nC60 are presented. These methods combine key advantages of multiple existing synthesis methods including high yield, narrow particle size distribution, short synthesis time, and an absence of solvents such as tetrahydrofuran that have historically caused problems in laboratory synthesized aggregates. The resulting samples are attractive candidates for use in controlled environmental impact, biological, and toxicity studies. An improved method for quantifying residual solvents in nC60 samples utilizing solid phase micro extraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) is also discussed.