First 3-D Image of Molecular Bonds

Pentacene Anatomy

The above picture was taken by scientists at IBM, and it’s of a single molecule. If you’re having a bit of trouble picturing it, here’s the more recognizable artists’s rendition:

Pentacene Model

From the article:

Like the venerable electron microscope, but more powerful and with an eye for the third dimension, the AFM [Atomic Force Microscope] is able to make the nano world something we humans can appreciate visually. Using a silicon microscale cantilever coated in carbon dioxide (tiny, tiny needle), lasers, an “ultrahigh vacuum” and temperatures that hovered around 5 Kelvin, the AFM imaged the pentacene in nanometers. It did this while sitting a mere 0.5 nanometers above the surface and its previously invisible bonds for 20 long, unmoving hours. The length of time is noteworthy, said IBM scientist Leo Goss in statement from IBM, because any movement whatsoever would have disrupted the delicate atomic bonds and ruined the image.And that’s the real beauty of this image. For the first time ever we can see where each of those carbon and hydrogen atoms line up, and the overall symmetrical shape they create. In 3D.

My favourite part of the article was where it mentioned that atoms have no colour. Which makes perfect sence once you think about it…

IBM Takes First 3D Image of Atomic Bonds [Gizmodo]


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