This very slender volume, not much more extensive than an invited paper in some research journals, is a joy to read, even for those without much knowledge of chemistry.
Getting down to business quickly—with only the briefest preface and introduction, and without a conclusion section—the book a list of chemical structures, listed chronologically for each of three categories: molecules, 1D structures and 2D graphene. Clearly, all of these structures are in fact three-dimensional; molecules can be intricate carbon cages (fullerenes) that are fascinating to behold, while nanotubes may have radial symmetry but extend in a third dimension along the axis of the tube.
For the reader with a chemistry background, the book delves into strategies for synthesizing various compounds and structures. For those interested in applications there is some information as well, but it is a bit difficult to find: mechanical, electrical or optical properties are only occasionally included at the end of an entry. The reader in need of a structure with particular properties must wade through the entire book, in the hope that something may meet that need.
The index is focused on the chemical terms, including only a handful of others—few if any of them related to applications—and most index entries link to a single page. The list of references is extensive. It should be no surprise that in a book this compact, there are no exercises that would make it suitable as a textbook.
Despite some of these limitations, this is a book that clearly belongs on the reference bookshelf of a professional or graduate student interested in complex carbon-based structures. It is also one that would brighten the afternoon of a layperson fascinated by the richness of structures that can be built using carbon.
Review by Bogdan Hoanca, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA.
The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or its publisher, Optica (formerly OSA).