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Fullerens Production


Investigation of Processes of Fullerens Production and Development of New Methods of Production

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-OTH/Other/Materials
  • PHY-SSP/Solid State Physics/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
NIIEFA Efremov, Russia, St Petersburg

Supporting institutes

  • Russian Academy of Sciences / Physical Technical Institute, Russia, St Petersburg


  • NanoCarbon Research Institute Ltd., Japan, Chiba

Project summary

The new form of existence of carbon (parallel with well known diamond and graphite and less known carbyne), which was discovered in 1985 has vast outlooks of practical application as a principally new material. Since 1991, when the method of Fullerens receiving in macroscopic amounts was disclosed, the real Fullerens boom has started. For today it has been published more than ten thousand scientific papers, in which ones the physical, chemical, biological and medical properties of Fullerens are studied. About a thousand of patents for Fullerens applying in different fields are known, in particular:

– new classes of superconductors, semiconductors, magnetics, ferroelectrics, non-linear optical materials;

– new processes of synthesizing diamonds and diamond-like compounds of super high hardness;
– a new type of chemical power sources on the basis of Fullerens hydrates;
– new classes of polymers with intended mechanical, optical, electric, magnetic properties for information recording and storage;
– new kinds of combustibles and additives to combustibles;
– new classes of antifriction coatings and lubricants;
– new types of catalysts and sensors:
– capsules for a secure disposal of radioactive waste;
– new classes of compounds for pharmacology and medicine.

With usage of Fullerens and carbon nanotubes there is a possibility of constructing different materials collected from atomic clusters, with intended physicochemical properties. Not without reason the USA President adviser for science John Gibbons in 1998 has called Fullerens processing as one of six processing, which ones will determine economical evolution in ХХI century, and the USA Defense Department has declared this processing as a subject of strategic studies.

However, a broad application of Fullerens in different industries is constrained by their high price (tens of US dollars for gram), and besides, the total volume of Fullerens, obtained by all producers in a world in 1999, hardly exceeds one ton. The high price and the small volumes of production are results of that practically all over the world for Fullerens formation they use the simplest form of an arc discharge with graphite electrode in helium atmosphere.

The basis of the Project are FTI activities on studying physics of an arc discharge and optimization of plasma methods of Fullerens deriving, executed within the framework of the Russian program "Fullerens and atomic clusters", and NIIEFA activities on creation of powerful gas lasers of continuous operation. 18 scientific papers are published concerning the Project theme, in which ones it is shown, that:

– the Fullerens contents in soot can be essentially augmented, having optimized modes of the arc discharge;

– it is possible to improve "architecture" of an arc discharge, in particular to blow off a soot from a zone of Fulleren formation using a closed helium gas-loop;
– it is possible to increase essentially percentage of a soot yield, using a reverse power supply of an arc discharge,
– at vaporization of graphite by a beam of a powerful gas laser of continuous operating mode a percentage of the Fulleren contents in the soot is not lower, than in an arc and the laser method has large prospects of further advancing.

The list of the basic publications:

1. Афанасьев Д. В. и др. “Образование фуллеренов в дуговом разряде. Часть I”// ЖТФ. 1994. Т. 64. Вып. 10. С. 76–90.

2. Дюжев Г. А., Каратаев В. И. “Где в дуговом разряде образуются фуллерены?” // ФТТ. 1994. Т. 34. N9. С. 2795–2796.

3. Dyuzhev G. A. “Fullerene Formation in an Arc Discharge” // Mol. Mat. 1996. Vol. 7. P. 61–68.

4. Афанасьев Д. В. и др. “Образование фуллеренов в дуговом разряде. Часть II”// ЖТФ. 1997. Т. 67. Вып. 2. С. 125–128.

5. Афанасьев Д. В., Дюжев Г. А., Каратаев В. И. “Влияние заряженных частиц на процесс образования фуллеренов” // Письма в ЖТФ. 1999. Т. 25. Вып. 5. С. 35–40.

6. Афанасьев Д. В., Богданов А. А. и др. “Обогащение фуллеренов изотопом 13С” // Письма в ЖТФ. 1999. Т. 25. Вып. 18. С. 12–18.

7. Афанасьев Д. В. и др. “Образование фуллеренов в дуговом разряде в присутствии водорода и кислорода” // ЖТФ. 1999. Т. 69. Вып. 12. С. 48–51.

8. Алексеев Н. И., Дюжев Г. А. “Образование фуллеренов в плазме газового разряда. I. Кинетика образования Fullerenов из полициклических структур” // ЖТФ. 1999. Т. 69. Вып. 9. С. 104–109.

9. Алексеев Н. И., Дюжев Г. А. “Образование фуллеренов в плазме газового разряда. II. Динамика реакций между заряженными и нейтральными кластерами углерода” // ЖТФ. 1999. Т. 69. Вып. 12. С. 42–47.

10. Богданов А. А., Дайнингер Д., Дюжев Г. А. “Перспективы развития промышленных методов производства фуллеренов ” // ЖТФ. 2000. Т. 70. Вып. 5. С. 1–7.

11. Горелик О. П., Дюжев Г. А., Новиков Д. В. и др. “Кластерная структура частиц фуллеренсодержащей сажи и порошков фуллеренов С60” // ЖТФ. 2000. Т. 70. Вып. 11. С. 118–125.

12. Афанасьев Д. В., Дюжев Г. А., Кругликов А. А. “Влияние газовых потоков на процесс образования фуллеренов ” // ЖТФ (в печати).

13. Афанасьев Д. В. и др. “Потоки углерода из дугового разряда в режимах, оптимальных для получения фуллеренов ” // ЖТФ (в печати).

14. Алексеев Н. И., Chibante F., Дюжев Г. А. “О трансформации углеродного пара в газо-плазменной струе дугового разряда” // ЖТФ (в печати).

15. Алексеев Н. И., Дюжев Г. А. “Статистическая модель образования фуллеренов на основе квантовохимических расчетов. I. Наиболее вероятные предшественники фуллеренов” // ЖТФ (в печати).

16. Н. И. Алексеев, Г. А. Дюжев. “Статистическая модель образования фуллеренов на основе квантовохимических расчетов. II. Обоснование модели и кинетика трансформации в фуллерен” // ЖТФ (в печати).

17. Алексеев Н. И., Дюжев Г. А. “Дуговой разряд с испаряющимся анодом (Почему род буферного газа влияет на процесс образования фуллеренов?)”// ЖТФ (в печати).

18. Афанасьев Д.В., Баранов Г.А., Беляев А.А., Дюжев Г.А., Зинченко А.К. «Получение фуллеренов при испарении графита стационарным СО2 лазером» //Письма в ЖТФ (в печати).

In addition to Fullerens high interest is produced by carbon one-wall and multi-wall nanotubes and other carbon nanosystems.

Some methods of deriving nanotube are known now: the cathodic deposit of an arc discharge, vaporization of graphite in a stream of helium, pyrolysis of hydrocarbons, electrolytic synthesizing and so on.

In the cathode deposit the amount of one-wall nanotubes is vanishingly small, and multi-wall nanotubes are united into aggregates, to pide which ones into separate nanotubes is very difficultly.

The productivity of available installations for producing nanotubes by vaporization of graphite and pyrolysis of hydrocarbons is so small, and the cost price of receivable products is so high, that these processings still do not interest an industry.

At the same time there is a necessity in great many of cheap nanotubes. So under the message of the president of the company FIC S. Katagiri the corporation Mitsubishi schedules for 2002 to begin industrial production of flat displays with cathodes coated with nanotubes. Therefore creation of process of nanotubes formation with large productivity and low cost price is actual.

The basic idea of the tendered project consists in usage of Fullerens and Fulleren fragments during synthesizing nanotubes. Fullerens, in addition to well-known advantages, can have one more, namely it is an effective LOW-TEMPERATURE source of Fulleren structures fragments, and possibly, of atomic carbon vapors.

From this it follows the project concept which one is to well-directly grow nanostructures from a gas phase of atomic carbon and fragments of Fulleren structures onto substrates, on which ones there is a "seed" of nanostructures. That is the processing similar to that one, which is used for monocrystals growing from a gas phase.

The aim of the Project is the experimental and theoretical clarification of a possibility to realize the presented idea.

The following results will be obtained when completing the Project:

1. The arc plasma reactor for obtaining Fulleren-containing soot will be created with the following specifications:

– the productivity – 100 grams of Fulleren-containing soot in an hour and 500 grams of soot in a shift (8 hours);
– the Fullerens abundance in soot will be not less than 12% (after having made works on optimization the alternative of 20% will be possible);
– the maintenance staff is 2 operators in a shift.

2. The processing will be developed and the industrial plant on production of the Fullerens extract will be built with the following specifications:

– the productivity – complete refining of 500 grams of soot in a shift;
– percentage of Fullerens extraction from soot will be not less than 98%;
– the maintenance staff is 1 operator in a shift.

3. The pilot production installation for producing Fulleren-containing soot using the powerful gas laser of continuous mode will be created, the performances of which will be specified during the Project complete.

4. The possibility will be clarified for creation of experimentally-industrial installation for well-directed and controlled growing nanotubes with usage of Fullerens as one of the feed stock components.

As a whole, the main result of the work consists in creation of high-performance and cheap technological processes for formation of Fullerens and carbon nanotube.

The following targets and aims of ISTC will be realized as a result of the Project complete:

– the possibility will be given to group of the NIIEFA and FTI employees, before involved into development of mass-destruction weapon, for conversion onto peace commodity;

– the applied research having for an object applications of Fullerens and carbon nanotube in different areas of an industry will be supported;
– the conversion to civil market economics will be supported.

The work consists of three parts:

– a research work invoked to clarify as experimentally and theoretically the basic physical processes of Fullerens and nanotube formation and to offer the scheme of experimental and production plants;

– an experimental development work connected with developing specific constructions of installations, issuing the designer documentation and developing the technological regulations of operation on installations;
– manufacturing works, connected with fabrication of installations, their assembling and starting into operation and integrated products release.

For successful realization of the Project the following works will be executed:

– the conditions of an arc discharge will be optimized from the angle of obtaining the maximal Fullerens contents in soot;

– the operation factors of a reverse power supply for an arc discharge will be determined from the angle of an increase of a soot outcome;
– the methods of a soot removal from the plasma reactor using closed helium loop and methods of a helium stream purification from a soot will be developed and optimized;
– the designer documentation on fabrication of a "ideal" plasma arc reactor for obtaining soot will be issued;
– the plasma reactor will be manufactured and started up;
– the technological regulations of operation on an arc plasma reactor will be developed;
– the conditions of graphite vaporization using the laser will be optimized under the Fullerens contents in the soot (diameter of a light beam, power in the beam, helium pressure in the camera, condition of heat sink from a work-piece, etc.);
– the system for laser beam scanning on a surface of a work-piece will be developed;
– the possibility of using other carbon-containing materials (waist soot after Fullerens extraction, shungits, bituminous coal) instead of cost intensive graphite will be tested;
– the possibility and prospects of using hybrid schemes (laser + gas discharge) for obtaining a soot will be tested experimentally.
– the Fullerens behavior on heated metal surfaces, interaction of Fullerens with electronic and ion beams will be learnt;
– the study will be held of a stationary vacuum arc with graphite electrodes as a source of vapors of atomic carbon;
– the different possibilities for delivering carbon particles jets will be learnt;
– the structures will be investigated, which are generated on different substrates at forming on them from a gas phase Fullerens, Fullerens fragment and carbon atoms.

The cooperation with foreign collaborator is supposed to be realized in the forms of:

– information exchange during a realization of the Project;

– preparing comments for the technical reports presented by the Project participants to the ISTC;
– cross-validations of results obtained during the Project realization;
– involvement in technical inspections of activity under the Project, which ones are executed by the ISTC employees;
– carrying out of joint symposiums and seminars.


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