Look at This: We Can Zoom In On Individual Molecular Bonds

By Sophie Bushwick | September 17, 2012 1:47 pm

molecular bonds

We’ve come a long way from the first glass-and-light optical microscopes. These days, scientists can focus on individual molecules using advanced methods like atomic force microscopy (AFM), where a miniscule probe feels out the details of a surface. And in this AFM image of a nanographene molecule, the resolution is so high that for the first time, we can see the individual bonds between atoms, shown here as green lines.

In a new paper in the journal Science, IBM researchers used the same imaging technique to measure the length and relative strength of individual bonds in the spherical carbon molecules called buckyballs. Their method can not only improve our intimate understanding of these and other molecules—it also lets us get up close and personal with the building blocks of all matter.

Image courtesy of IBM Research – Zurich / Flickr

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Physics & Math, Technology
  • Artur

    Is matter infinitely divisible? Can the exawatt or yottawatt lasers or planck energy lasers split and rip the electrons, quarks? And if the matter is not infinitely divisible, can we say that the smallest particles have not sizes? Thank you.

  • BrendaP

    Would be really cool to see this in 3D.

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