Researchers Capture 1st Image of an Individual Molecule

The force map image of pentacene.  Image credit:  IBM

The force map image of pentacene. Image credit: IBM

IBM researchers in Zurich, Switzerland have been able to capture a 3D image of an individual molecule.  In a new study published in Science, researchers used an atomic force microscope to image pentacene, an organic molecule that consists of five benzene rings.  The image clearly illustrates the chemical bonds between the carbon and hydrogen atoms.

It may seem odd that images of smaller atoms have been available since the 1970s while images of larger molecules were not.  The reason was due to the relative strength of atoms & molecules.  Atoms simply were sturdy enough to hold up under previous imaging techniques while molecules were too delicate.  For more information, see Physorg.com.


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