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Richard Smellie

( Chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996)

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Biography Richard Smellie
Smellie, RICHARD (Smalley, Richard) (p. 1943) (USA). Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1996 (with G. Kroto and R. Curley).

Born June 6, 1943 in g. Ekron (Ohio), the youngest of four children. Father, Frank Dudley Smellie often changed his place of residence and employment: working as a carpenter, printer, associate publisher. Mother - Virginia Rhoads. Smellie was three years old when the family moved to Kansas City (Missouri), where he grew up. In 1961, Smellie went to study at Hope College in Holland (Michigan), and for continuing education transferred to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

After graduation the fall of 1965 began to work a chemist at the company's 'Shell' for the production of polypropylene in Woodbury (New Jersey). Two years later moved to the Technical Center of plastics, located in the same, and engaged in the analysis of polyolefins and materials used in their manufacture, modification and processing.

His interested in quantum chemistry, and the fall of 1969, he enrolled at Princeton University, graduating in 1971 and continued to work on my dissertation. He was in a group spectroscopist Elliot Bernstein (Elliot Bernstein). Work was related to the microwave spectral studies of crystals of 1,3,5-triazine, heterocyclic analogues of benzene. In 1973 he defended his thesis.

The summer of 1973 he moved to the University of Chicago for an internship on the study of molecules using microwave double resonance under the leadership of Donald Levy (Donald Levy). The problem was Smellie range NO2, which was beyond the understanding. One day he read an article by Y. T. Lee (Nobel Laureate, 1986) on the reaction between fluoride and benzene, resulting in the idea of using ultrasound to enhance the freezing NO2 to the point when employing only one rotational state. They built the device, and with it has 8 August 1974 was recorded and interpreted the spectrum of NO2.

Thesis, the summer of 1976 Smellie moved to Houston, Texas, became an assistant professor of chemistry department at Rice University, where he remained, first professor of chemistry, and since 1991 - Professor of Physics.

At Rice University already existed laser spectrometry, adjusted R. Curley, while Smellie was Created his instrument. Discovery of Fullerenes with this apparatus was held in September 1985. Nobel Prize 'for his discovery of fullerenes' has been awarded Smellie in 1996, with R. Kerley and G. Kroto. The latter belonged to the idea that around giant stars can form a molecule composed of long carbon chains.

Curl has decided to move from ideas to action and in order to simulate similar conditions in the laboratory, came into contact with Robert Smellie. That in 1974 built the machine, which with the help of a laser emitter could vaporize almost any material. With this apparatus he set the record for the freezing of rotational motion of polyatomic molecules (0,17 K) and invented a way to explore the spectrum of molecules in ultrasound imaging - a resonant two-photon ionization with mass spectral detection.

Smellie also developed a method of control over the process of grouping of atoms in small conglomerates, which are immediately frozen under ultrasound expansion. This is the first time allowed to freeze in the ultrasonic flow of atoms of any element of the periodic system, creating one nanometer particles, consisting of a given number of atoms, and detailed study of their characteristics

. During the week of September 1985 in Houston Curl, . Smellie and Kroto, together with their younger colleagues Hisom James (James Heath) and Sean O'Brien (Sean O'Brien) were able to, . that the evaporation of graphite in an inert atmosphere that is able to move in a very solid spherical structure,
. Normal value areas - 60 or 70 carbon atoms.

They realized that you can include metal atoms in the fullerene cell and thus completely change the properties of the metal. The first of these metals have been a rare earth element lanthanum. Fullerene C60 is able to easily accept electrons and negative ions to give. With alkali metals (eg, potassium) C60 forms a new superconducting crystalline material consisting of a triply charged anion and three Katona potassium (K3C60). This material has a superconducting properties at 19 K. He is able to reversibly accept and then give the electrons, but because fullerenes may become the catalysts for chemical processes, replacing costly and toxic metals. During those years, as fullerenes became available, based on them have been synthesized thousands of compounds based on them, and tested their chemical, mechanical, electrical, optical and biological properties.

Modified method of preparation of fullerenes allowed to create the world's smallest tube of pure carbon - a nanotube. These tubes are extremely small diameter, with approximately nanometer. Such tubes can be closed when necessary with one or both ends. They could find use in electronics because of their unique properties. Subsequent studies Smellie held under the motto - 'if it is not tubes, we do not work'.


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