What is C60?

The Carbon 60 or C60 for short (also called Fullerene 60) is a molecule that resembles a soccer ball or buckyball. It has the shape of a spherical ball, made of sixty carbon atoms, hence the name C60.

Carbon 60 was discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley, a discovery for which they were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. They vaporized graphite with a sophisticated instrument at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The machine vaporized and organized the carbon in the form of a new molecule, the carbon 60 had just been discovered.

The researchers named the Buckminster fullerene C60 in honor of Richard Buckminster Fuller, an American architect and inventor of the geodesic dome.

C60 is found in nature as well as in space, typically in soot, charcoal or other carbon-based ash in very small amounts. It can be generated naturally in small amounts during combustion and lightning strikes, or manufactured in the laboratory from graphite, a pure form of carbon. 

Carbon 60 or C60 fullerene is not soluble in water, it does not mix with water. Therefore, it must be mixed with a vegetable oil so that the C60 molecule can be absorbed by the body.