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The C60 "buckyball" fullerene

Discovered in 1985, this buckminster fullerene carbon structure has spurred a phenomenal volume of research into the properties of carbon clusters. An entire menagerie of carbon nanostructures has now been discovered: rings, cages, chains, tadpoles, and tubes! The clusters display a wide variety of characteristics and behaviours, depending on their geometry, helicity, and any filling or dopant materials.

Despite many advances, the question "which is the smallest stable fullerene?" has been very contentious due to the sensitivity of cluster formation to experimental conditions and the challenges posed to theoretical methods by system size, and the high accuracy required. We have performed QMC calculations with the aim of answering this question.

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