We have used classical hot-atom chemistry to put tritium atoms inside fullerene molecules. The tritium is generated in a nuclear reactor with the reaction6Li(n,α)3H. The hot tritium atom slows down and can end up being thermalized inside a fullerene where it is trapped. The irradiated sample is dissolved, chromatographed, and counted in a scintillation counter, showing a small tritium activity. After some time, the sample is analyzed with a sensitive mass spectrometer, and3He was found on heating above 400°C, showing that the tritium had decayed leaving the3He trapped inside the fullerene. © 1994.
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