19 November 2018

Functionalizing molecular nanocarbon with fluorine atoms

Up to two fluorine atoms are added to the Sc3N@C80 fullerene cage, as shown in this FT-ICR mass spectrum. Up to two fluorine atoms are added to the Sc3N@C80 fullerene cage, as shown in this FT-ICR mass spectrum. Paul Dunk, National MagLab, and Antonio Rodriguez-Fortea, University of Rovira i Virgili.

Researchers have discovered a new method to create encapsulated carbon nanomaterials that contain fluorine. Known as fullerenes, these nanocages are promising candidates for clean energy applications.

What did scientists discover?

Researchers found a way to add fluorine to high-impact carbon nanomaterials, which could chemically tune them for possible use in clean energy applications such as plastic solar cells.


This research was conducted in the 9.4 Tesla FT-ICR MS (Actively Shielded) at the MagLab's ICR Facility.

Why is this important?

All prior attempts to add fluorine to the nanomaterial, Sc3N@C80, led to destruction of the carbon cage. In this work, scientists used laser vaporization to generate the first fluorinated and metal-encapsulated carbon nanocages, a long-standing challenge in the pursuit and design of new carbon nanomaterials.

Who did the research?

Antonio Moreno-Vicente1, Marc Mulet-Gas2, Paul W. Dunk2, Josep M. Poblet1, Antonio Rodríguez-Fortea1

1University of Rovira i Virgili, Spain; 2National MagLab, Florida State University

Why did they need the MagLab?

The discovery and formation of the these chemical compounds requires unique, laser-based instrumentation coupled to analysis by high-magnetic-field FT-ICR mass spectrometry, an exclusive combination of state-of-the-art instrumentation found only in the MagLab’s Ion Cyclotron Resonance Facility.

Details for scientists


This research was funded by the following grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490, NSF DMR-1644779); A. Rodríguez-Fortea, J.M.Poblet (MCICTQ2014-52774-P, GC 2014SGR, and XRQTC)

For more information, contact Chris Hendrickson.


  • Research Area: Chemistry, FT-ICR Mass Spectrometry Technique & Inst. Development
  • Research Initiatives: Materials
  • Facility / Program: ICR
  • Year: 2018
Last modified on 20 November 2018