Heads or tails: how do chemically substituted fullerenes melt?
We address the question as to whether the melting of chemically substituted fullerenes is driven by the dynamics of the fullerene moiety (the head) or the substituted sub-unit (the tail). To this end, we have performed quasielastic neutron-scattering experiments and classical molecular-dynamics simulations as a function of temperature on the prototypical fullerene derivative phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester. To enable a direct and quantitative comparison between experimental and simulation data, dynamic structure factors for the latter have been calculated from atomic trajectories and further convolved with the known instrument response. A detailed analysis of the energy- and momentum-transfer dependence of this observable in the quasielastic regime shows that melting is entirely driven by temperature-activated tail motions. We also provide quantitative estimates of the activation energy for this process as the material first enters a plastic-crystalline phase, followed by the emergence of a genuine liquid at higher temperatures.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Neutron Scattering in Catalysis and Energy Materials