The Formation of Fullerenes in Planetary Nebulae

Cami, Jan; Peeters, Els; Bernard Salas, Jeronimo; Doppmann, Greg and De Buizer, James (2018). The Formation of Fullerenes in Planetary Nebulae. Galaxies, 6(4), article no. 101.



In the last decade, fullerenes have been detected in a variety of astrophysical environments, with the majority being found in planetary nebulae. Laboratory experiments have provided us with insights into the conditions and pathways that can lead to fullerene formation, but it is not clear precisely what led to the formation of astrophysical fullerenes in planetary nebulae. We review some of the available evidence, and propose a mechanism where fullerene formation in planetary nebulae is the result of a two-step process where carbonaceous dust is first formed under unusual conditions; then, the fullerenes form when this dust is being destroyed.

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