Universidad Complutense de Madrid



Chiral Allotropes of Carbon: One Step Further!

The scientific and technical interest of carbon nanostructures is currently of the utmost importance. Actually, following the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to fullerenes in 1996, the last Noble Prize 2010 in Physics to graphenes reveals the interest on the unique properties that these new carbon allotropes exhibit, and the expectations and excitement for further practical applications.
The aims of the present project are within this framework of carbon nanostructures and the main purpose will be to put forward innovative solutions to form chiral carbon nanoforms. Chemical modification by mainly introducing chiral elements, should lead to molecules of interest for a better understanding of basic and fundamental scientific questions involving the scarcely known chiral carbon nanostructures, as well as a variety of applications in “materials science” and “molecular electronics”. Experimental findings within this project will allow to introduce efficiently chirality on carbon nanoforms and to determine how chirality modifies the symmetry of the p-system in these carbon nanostructures and the consequences on the properties they exhibit for practical purposes. This important challenge has not been properly addressed so far due to the inherent difficulties to work on these systems and, particularly, to the lack of an efficient chemical protocol to afford chiral carbon nanoforms.
As a whole, we will produce a wide number of modified chiral carbon nanoforms (namely fullerenes, endohedral fullerenes, graphenes and CNTs) some of them to be studied for applications within the collaboration previously established with other research groups. In this regard, the PI has been engaged in a variety of national and EU projects oriented to the preparation of materials for organic electronics based on fullerenes from his former participation in the first funded EU project (Joule III) devoted to Organic Photovoltaics.
Thus, the aim of the present proposal is to answer fundamental questions about how to introduce efficiently chirality into a variety of carbon nanoforms, how chirality modifies their properties and the impact in the creation of new materials and devices. Thus, it describes a fundamental and technological research program designed to gain new knowledge for the development of novel covalent and supramolecular chiral carbon nanoforms and their further chemical modification for the preparation of more sophisticated architectures and materials. Our research activity should give the answer to current fundamental and technological needs and will substantially reinforce and integrate the strong position of Europe in the knowledge of carbon nanoforms (Nanoscience).