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Definition: Buckyball


A molecule of carbon expected to improve the materials used in a variety of applications, including batteries, fuels, plastics and medicine, especially the treatment of cancer. Buckyballs are also used as a building block for experimental materials.

Officially known as "Buckminsterfullerines" because the 60 atoms that make up their spherical molecule resemble Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes, Buckyballs are lighter than plastic and stronger than steel. They also conduct heat and electricity. In 1985, Buckyballs were identified by three scientists who later received a Nobel Prize for the discovery. See nanotube and nanotechnology. See also Bucky Bit.