A report is given on molecular carbon research in Los Angeles, starting with review of the molecular precursor approach to carbon materials.1 Regarding larger molecules, mixtures of carbon molecules, C
, are extracted2 in 25–40 percent yield from graphite evaporated under helium. Gram quantities of the mixture are then separated into pure fractions – C60, C70, C76/C78, C84
, and higher (n > 88),3,4 and characterized by mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography, and 13CNMR spectroscopy. Examination of the spectroscopic and photophysical5 properties of the molecules, with particular focus on C60
in solution, reveals: (i) the first transitions appear at high energy, are electronically forbidden (in C60
, the homo-lumo hu - t1u transitions), and exhibit resolved vibronic structure; (ii) the spectra sharpen in cryogenic media, allowing vibronic assignment; and (iii) relaxation occurs with near-unity quantum yield to a long-lived triplet, which also transfers energy efficiently to acceptors including O2.