Fullerenes were discovered in 1985. They are a new allotropic form of carbon, spherical molecules, which contain more than 20 carbon atoms, which are connected with each other by three chemical bonds. Scientific and practical interest in studying fullerenes was particularly demonstrated in 1990, after the invention of the method enabling their production in bulk.


It turns out that fullerene molecules can be considered unique instruments of scientific knowledge, which can be used in resolving old scientific problems from an absolutely new position. In the fullerene C60 molecule itself, nature has united many opposite properties and notions.


Fullerene C60 is a link between organic and inorganic matter. It is a molecule and a particle at the same time. The diameter of a C60 molecule is about 1 nm, which corresponds to the dispersion limit between the colloidal and “true” (molecular) state of substances. If we look inside fullerene, we will see only a void with a diameter of 0.4 nm and, above that, penetrated with electromagnetic fields. That is why fullerene molecules can be called vacuum bubbles, for which the well-known thesis that Nature abhors a vacuum is false.


Before the discovery of fullerenes, the molecular structures of some proteins resembling fullerene in form were already known. Such structures include some viruses and other vital biological structures. The correspondence of the geometrical sizes of the fullerene C60 molecule and its spherical clusters of secondary structures of the DNA molecule in B-conformation is interesting.


Thus, the size of the C60 molecule corresponds to the height of the stack, consisting of three pairs of complementary nucleic bases, i.e., codon – genetic information unit, which contains encoded information about a rather defined amino acid used for protein synthesis. Another interesting coincidence is the fact that the step of the DNA helix is ~3.4 nm, and the first spherical cluster of C60, consisting of 13 fullerene molecules, is the same size.


Back at the beginning of the last century, academician Vernadsky noted that living matter is characterised by high symmetry, and many biologically important molecules have a fifth-order symmetry axis and can be characterised by the golden section concept. Fullerene C60 has 6 fifth-order axes, it is the only known molecule in nature to have such a unique symmetry.