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# Long-range ordered porous carbons produced from C60

## Abstract

Carbon structures with covalent bonds connecting C60 molecules have been reported1,2,3, but their production methods typically result in very small amounts of sample, which restrict the detailed characterization and exploration necessary for potential applications. We report the gram-scale preparation of a new type of carbon, long-range ordered porous carbon (LOPC), from C60 powder catalysed by α-Li3N at ambient pressure. LOPC consists of connected broken C60 cages that maintain long-range periodicity, and has been characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, magic-angle spinning solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy and neutron scattering. Numerical simulations based on a neural network show that LOPC is a metastable structure produced during the transformation from fullerene-type to graphene-type carbons. At a lower temperature, shorter annealing time or by using less α-Li3N, a well-known polymerized C60 crystal forms owing to the electron transfer from α-Li3N to C60. The carbon K-edge near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure shows a higher degree of delocalization of electrons in LOPC than in C60(s). The electrical conductivity is 1.17 × 10−2 S cm−1 at room temperature, and conduction at T < 30  K appears to result from a combination of metallic-like transport over short distances punctuated by carrier hopping. The preparation of LOPC enables the discovery of other crystalline carbons starting from C60(s).

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## Data availability

All data supporting the findings of this work are available within the paper and its Supplementary Information. Source data can be found at https://github.com/NiKun9/fullerene_evolutionSource data are provided with this paper.

## Code availability

All density functional theory calculations were performed using VASP and Gaussian 09 software, which are commercially available at https://www.vasp.at/ and https://gaussian.com/. All structural search calculations based on neutral network potential were performed using LASP software, which is commercially available at http://www.lasphub.com and free for academic usage. The Raman off-resonance activity calculator is available at https://github.com/afonari/raman-sc.

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## Acknowledgements

We thank Z. Qiao, Z. Li, Y. Luo and D. Proserpio for helpful discussion. This work is supported by National Key R&D Program of China 2020YFA0711502, Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 51972299, 52003265, 52202052, 52273234, 52273239, 12004377, 11874350 and U2004214), the Key R&D Program of Jiangsu Province grant no. BE2021007-2 and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory grant no. 2019B121203002. R.S.R. is supported by the Institute for Basic Science (grant no. IBS-R019-D1). The Supercomputing Center of USTC is acknowledged.

## Author information

Authors

### Contributions

Y.Z., F.P. and K.N. designed the research. F.P. performed the material preparation and most regular characterizations. K.N. performed all the simulations. T.X. and L.S. performed the aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. H.C. and W. Yin performed the neutron diffraction and pair distribution function testing. Y.W. and K.G. performed the magic-angle-spinning solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and in situ testing. C.L. and D.Y. performed the electrical conductivity testing of LOPC. X.L. carried out the simulation of carbon K-edge near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectra. M.-L.L. and P.-H.T. performed the Raman testing. S.L. and X.W. assisted with the material preparation. W. Yan performed the carbon K-edge near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectra testing. Y.Z. and R.S.R. supervised the research, and provided many insightful remarks and suggestions. Y.Z., R.S.R., F.P. and K.N. co-wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

### Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Rodney S. Ruoff or Yanwu Zhu.

## Ethics declarations

### Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

## Peer review information

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Nature thanks Yongjun Tian, Thomas Wågberg and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.

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## Supplementary information

### Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Figs 1–31, Tables 1 and 2, captions to Supplementary Videos 1–4 and Appendix.

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Pan, F., Ni, K., Xu, T. et al. Long-range ordered porous carbons produced from C60. Nature (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05532-0

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• DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05532-0