Scientists Can Now See Individual Atoms

AtomsA nanographene molecule.

Photo: IBM Research/Flickr

New developments in microscopy have allowed researchers to image individual bonds within a molecule — seeing down to the atom scale.The researchers captured these images using an atomic force microscope and a special technique that allowed them to map the subtle differences in charge in different areas of the molecule. They were also able to determine the strength of the bonds between the individual atoms in the molecule.

They used the technique on a molecule of fullerene, which has 60 carbon atoms in it, and other carbon-based molecules.

The breakthrough was published Sept 14 in the journal Science. More pictures below:

Atomic bondsA nanographene molecule

Photo: IBM Research/Flickr


Atoms of HexabenzocoroneneAtoms of Hexabenzocoronene

Photo: Gross Et. Al, Science, 2012

(Via Discover’s 80Beats blog)

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