The wavelength dependence, temperature limits, time and depth evolution of the photoinduced hardening of C60 crystals in air have been investigated by microindentation and dislocation mobility methods. Two photopolymerized phases, which differ in the hardness and thermal stability, are found to appear. We suggest that formation of fullerene dimers (ie. C120) in pristine fullerite and growth of C120O phase in oxygenated fullerite via [2+2] photoaddition reaction is responsible for it. It has been found from depth distribution data of the hardness that the C120O phase is located in oxygen-contaminated subsurface layer of 0.8–1 μm and appears under illumination at 290–330 K.
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