EventsDr. Doğan Erbahar

The miracle molecule C60 fullerene:
Predictions from room temperature superconductivity to astrobiology

C60 fullerene also known as the buckyball is discovered in 1985 as a previously unknown allotrope of Carbon. It soon attracted a lot of attention because of its structural stability and a vast range of application possibilities rising from its symmetry. Eventually, 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to the scientists who discovered fullerenes as its press release quotes: “an entirely new branch of chemistry developed, with consequences in such diverse areas as astrochemistry, superconductivity, and materials chemistry/physics.”

The seminar will begin by giving a brief introduction to fullerenes and emphasize the unique state of buckyballs amongst them. Then we will focus on the superconductivity mechanism which was explained in 1992 following the observation of the phenomenon in 1991. We will demonstrate that the critical temperature may be drastically increased by structural and electronic modifications satisfying certain criteria. A physical system will also be proposed to achieve this goal.

The second part of the seminar will follow the adventure initiated by the successful prediction of Harold W. Kroto who proposed that these molecules were abundant in space. Since this prediction was demonstrated to be true in 2015, we will be focusing on the astrochemical importance and a vast range of new possibilities regarding the interaction of fullerenes and azofullerenes with water under ultra-high vacuum conditions.

The final part will also investigate a problem proposed by Kroto which he identified as the “soft-landing problem”. That is the classical treatment of an electron radiating its energy and spiraling towards a charged center -possibly a charged fullerene- without entering the quantum regime. The problem is one of the oldest in the history of modern physics and surprisingly yet seems to be unsettled. We will mention the attempts in solving it and present our preliminary results predicting a spectrum which could be searched in interstellar emission bands and might be justified with high-vacuum experiments. We especially would like to draw the attention of experimentalists to this question.

About The Speaker

Dr. Dogan Erbahar is a computational physicist working primarily in the field of carbon nanoscience. He received his BS from Bogazici University physics department. He has worked on interferometric measurement techniques during his MS studies in Gebze Technical University physics department. In his Ph.D., he focused on modeling and simulations of defective carbon nanostructures. He was invited by David Tomanek to stay at Michigan State University during that time. After his Ph.D. he has worked in IMN-CNRS in France for one year as a post-doctoral researcher where he collaborated with experimental groups from France, Canada, Belgium, and Greece. While his research focuses mainly on DFT and MD calculations regarding a vast range of properties of carbon nanostructures he has also worked on defective bulk systems and modeled catalytic performances of certain alloys.

He continued to serve the scientific community as the general coordinator of international conferences like ICNM-2013 and NanoTR-12, the biggest national nanoscience and nanotechnology event of Turkey. He is an active blogger/vlogger about physics and enjoys writing popular science articles. He also has published about physics education and methodology