A research group led by Professor Yasujiro Murata of the Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University announced that they have succeeded in observing the behavior of water molecules trapped inside C70, which is a type of fullerene in which carbon atoms are bound in a spherical shape.It is said that it has become possible to elucidate the basic physical properties of water and to pave the way for controlling the physical properties of fullerene C70.

 So far, there have been few observations of a single molecule of water or a dimer in which two molecules are bonded in a "bare water molecule" state without external hydrogen bonds.On the other hand, fullerenes, which have hollow spaces with carbon atoms bonded in a spherical shape, are said to have different physical characteristics from empty fullerenes when they contain metals and molecules.

 This time, the research group succeeded in synthesizing fullerene C70 containing water molecules by constructing an opening in fullerene C70, inserting water molecules, and closing the opening again.The group has already succeeded in encapsulating a single molecule of water in fullerene C60, but compared to the completely spherical C60, the rugby ball-shaped C70 consisting of 70 carbon atoms has a larger internal space and is simply water. I was able to confine not only molecules but also dimers.

 Analysis of the synthesized small molecule inclusion C70 shows that one water molecule moves quickly up and down inside because there is no hydrogen bond, and in the dimer, the hydrogen bond existing between the molecules is cleaved and regenerated. Turned out to be repeating quickly.It is the first time in the world that a dimer of water molecules without external hydrogen bonds has been obtained, and it is possible to advance the elucidation of the behavior of water, which is most closely related to life.

 With this achievement, it will be possible to elucidate new physical properties and change the properties of C70 by realizing the monatomic state of substances other than water molecules in C70.In the future, it is expected to improve the performance of organic thin-film solar cells, develop bioactive materials, and apply them to probe molecules to elucidate biological phenomena.

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