Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics and Astronomy


Stephen FitzGerald


C60, Vibrational, Molecule, H2 molecules, Octahedral sites


Since its onset in 1941, matrix isolation has become a popular and common technique for studying species using spectroscopy by isolating them in an inert host solid [1]. Due to the large, spherical shape of the molecules, solid C60 has large interstitial voids making it a good host for matrix isolation. These voids come in two varieties. The larger of the two, the octahedral sites, have an ideal size for studying the dynamics of H2 molecules because the sites are large enough that a hydrogen molecule can be trapped, resulting in quantized translational motion, and can rotate nearly freely within the site. On the other hand, the sites are also small enough that each will contain only one hydrogen molecule thus eliminating H2-H2 interactions. The dynamics of a single hydrogen molecule isolated within the potential well of an octahedral site are very interesting because it represents a real-life example of the famous quantum mechanical situation of a “particle-in-a-box”. While the quantum dynamics of hydrogen within a C60 host lattice is worthy of investigation purely on the basis of the interesting physics involved in the system, there is also a practical importance for gaining a better understanding of the C60-H2, host-guest interaction because of the continuing interest in the possible use of carbon nanostructures as devices for hydrogen storage 3]. Using infrared spectroscopy to study H2 intercalated within a C60 lattice gives insight into the nature of the C60-H2 interaction because H2 is not infrared-active under normal conditions and so the H2 absorption peaks in our spectra are purely due to interaction with the C60 host. Initial results the H2 absorbance spectrum were published in 2002 by Professor Stephen FitzGerald, Scott Forth, and Marie Rinkoski [4]. This paper presents a continuation and a further understanding of using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to study the quantum behavior of H2 molecules within the octahedral lattice sites of C60.

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