This is a buckyball crystal, a form of carbon that no one had ever seen until the 1980s. Now, it’s starting to get used in all kinds of unexpected ways. Formally, this stuff is is known as Carbon-60 or buckminsterfullerene, because the molecule looks so much like a geodesic dome as envisioned by R. Buckminster Fuller.
Because of its weird shape, fulleride can do strange things at the sub-molecular level. In some ways, the discovery of buckyballs marked the dawn of nanotechnology. And also a great missed advertising opportunity for professional soccer….