Paper Accepted

We celebrated with champagne when the publication by Olof et al. was accepted to Physical Review Letters. In the paper, we present evidence for the so-called superatom molecular orbitals (SAMOs) of gas-phase fullerenes. The SAMOs are hydrogenic molecular orbitals that are centred on the cage rather than on individual carbon atoms. Such excited state orbitals have been observed earlier in scanning tunnel microscopy studies of fullerenes on metal surfaces but this is the first time that they have been identified for isolated molecules.

Due to their unusual nature, the SAMOs are of fundamental interest but may also be of practical importance. By understanding their properties it should be possible to tune the energies of these states to produce molecules with excellent properties for applications in molecular electronics.