We found that electron-beam irradiation of sumanene aggregates strongly enhanced their transformation into a graphitic carbon cage, having a diameter of about 20 nm. The threshold electron dose was about 32 mC/cm2 at 200 keV, but the transformation is still induced at 20 keV. The transformation sequence suggested that the cage was constructed accompanied by the dynamical movement of the transiently linked sumanene molecules in order to pile up inside the shell. Thus, bond excitation in the sumanene molecules rather than a knock-on of carbon atoms seems to be the main cause of the cage transformation.
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