Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana, v.83, p.45 (2012)
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Theoretical, observational and laboratory work on the new form of carbon known as fullerenes and its hydrogenated forms (fulleranes) are reviewed. These molecules can be responsible of diffuse interstellar bands, the UV bump, a major feature in the extinction curves measured in many lines of sight in our Galaxy and other galaxies and the anomalous microwave emission detected in several regions of star formation,in molecular clouds and HII regions. Recent detections of fullerenes C60 and C70 in planetary nebulae of our Galaxy and in the Magallanic cloud render support to the hypothesis that fullerenes and fulleranes are carriers of these processes. Other potential agents of these emission and absorption processes are the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). We also review observational efforts to identify the most simple PAHs, naphthalene and anthracene, in regions of anomalous microwave emission.