NOVEL FULLERENE DERIVATIVES
In 1999 Prof. Harry C. Dorn and his students reported the discovery of the trimetallic nitride templated (TNT) synthesis of endohedral metallofullerenes (EMFs) of formulae AxB3-xN@C2n; A and B are metals of Group 3 and the lanthanide series and n = 34, 39, 40. These TNT EMFs possess great potential in a number of applications because of the control that the metal encapsulate and the carbon cage size imbues on the electronic and magnetic properties. However, like the more familiar C60, these compounds as made have limited solubility. The Gibson group has collaborated with the Dorn group to functionalize the surfaces of these compounds, not only to render them soluble in appropriate media (aqueous or organic), but also to enable further structural elaboration and incorporation into more complex systems, such as polymers and dendrimers. We have established a number of reactions of these compounds that allow a variety of types of functional groups to be introduced. We have discovered that the metal encapsulates dictate the regiochemistry of these reactions. NMR and X-ray crystallography are mainstays for structural elucidation of the products. Current efforts are aimed at utilization of these materials in medical imaging, solar cells and quantum computing.