A new class of carbon structure is reported, which consists of microscale graphitic shells bounded by curved and faceted planes containing two to five layers. These structures were originally found in a commercial graphite produced by the Acheson process, followed by a purification treatment. The particles, which could be several hundreds of nanometres in size, were frequently decorated with nanoscale carbon particles, or short nanotubes. In some cases, nanotubes were found to be seamlessly connected to the thin shells, indicating that the formation of the shells and that of the nanotubes are intimately connected. The structures are believed to form during a purification process which involves passing an electric current through the graphite in the presence of a reactive gas. In support of this, it is shown that similar particles can be produced in a standard carbon arc apparatus. With their extremely thin graphene walls and high surface areas, the new structures may have a range of useful properties
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