Rovibrational quantum state resolution of the C60 fullerene

P. Bryan Changala, Marissa L. Weichman, Kevin F. Lee, Martin E. Fermann, Jun Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The unique physical properties of buckminsterfullerene, C60, have attracted intense research activity since its original discovery. Total quantum state–resolved spectroscopy of isolated C60 molecules has been of particularly long-standing interest. Such observations have, to date, been unsuccessful owing to the difficulty in preparing cold, gas-phase C60 in sufficiently high densities. Here we report high-resolution infrared absorption spectroscopy of C60 in the 8.5-micron spectral region (1180 to 1190 wave number). A combination of cryogenic buffer-gas cooling and cavity-enhanced direct frequency comb spectroscopy has enabled the observation of quantum state–resolved rovibrational transitions. Characteristic nuclear spin statistical intensity patterns confirm the indistinguishability of the 60 carbon-12 atoms, while rovibrational fine structure encodes further details of the molecule’s rare icosahedral symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
Issue number6422
StatePublished - Jan 4 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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