Images of Molecules, So What’s Next?

Chemical Space directed me to a BBC article about having images (finally) of molecules! IBM has the been the one researching this. This is the image, TADA!

Pentacene

That is the same thing as the image below.

It’s the coolest thing ever that we’re getting smaller and smaller! Like WOAH! We can actually see molecules now. What you’re seeing in the first image is the bond between the atoms.

The way they did it is by using anĀ AtomicĀ Force Microscope (AFM) to detect a molecule’s charge. The AFM has to be under a high vacuum and extremely cold to avoid molecules from moving. Though the version of the AFM they used used frequencies from prongs to figure out what the molecule looked like. The frequencies would change depending on how far or how close the molecule was to on side of the prong. The way they got the sharpness of the image is by putting CO (Carbon monoOxide) at the tips of the prongs. Scientists think this will be very useful information for understanding molecules and developing electronics and drugs.

I think the next step should be to record two atoms bonding with each other using the AFM and a super (super duper) high speed camera. It would be so interesting to see theory go into action. Just imagine watching the way the atomic fields move when the two atoms realize they can totally bond! I hope I get to see that some time soon.

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