Education: Professor Emeritus of Physics
Fields of Study: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Dr. Huffman's research is concentrated on the famous C60 molecule (buckminsterfullerene) and the hundreds of other additional fullerines synthesized in the Kratschmer-Huffman process. The general research objective of Dr. Huffman's group is to characterize the properties of the various fullerines, with the ultimate objective of developing commercially-useful new materials. Recent reports from the National Research Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the Executive Office of the President have targeted the development of fullerene based materials as an important national goal. The 1990 announcement of the Kratschmer-Huffman technique for the simple production of large quantities of C60 (buckminsterfullerene), has precipitated an enormous, world-wide interest in the properties of this elegant, soccer-ball-shaped molecule. Hundreds, if not thousands, of laboratories are engaged in fullerene research, with the emphasis of the work ranging from biochemistry to molecular theory to solid-state physics. Among the many exciting C60 developments are the discoveries that the doped solid can be made superconducting, reports of large nonlinear optical effects in thin films of C60, the seeding of high-efficiency CVD diamond growth with thin films of C70 (a close relative of C60), and the room temperature conversion via non-hydrostatic compression of C60 into diamond powder. Each of these discoveries could lead to entire fields of commercial applications in the future.