A carbon allotrope based on "sp" hybridization containing alternating triple and single bonds (an acetylenic or linear carbon allotrope) has been prepared. Studies of small (8 to 28 carbon atoms) acetylenic carbon model compounds show that such species are quite stable (130^circ to 140^circC) provided that nonreactive terminal groups or end caps (such as tert-butyl or trifluoromethyl) are present to stabilize these molecules against further reactions. In the presence of end capping groups, laser-based synthetic techniques similar to those normally used to generate fullerenes, produce thermally stable acetylenic carbon species capped with trifluoromethyl or nitrile groups with chain lengths in excess of 300 carbon atoms. Under these conditions, only a negligible quantity of fullerenes is produced. Acetylenic carbon compounds are not particularly moisture or oxygen sensitive but are moderately light sensitive.