DailyDirt: Cool Advances In Atomic-Scale Imaging
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
You’re thirsty. You get yourself a glass of water. But have you ever wondered how many molecules of dihydrogen monoxide are in that glass of water? (There are around 8.35 x 1024 molecules in an 8-ounce glass of water, in case you’re curious.) And how cool would it be if you could actually see those tiny little molecules dancing around in that glass? While that’s still a challenge, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have managed to produce the first ever “action movies” showing individual water molecules moving across a palladium surface using a special scanning tunneling microscope. Here are a few more examples of some cool atomic-scale imaging breakthroughs.
- IBM researchers have created a short animated movie called A Boy and his Atom. They used a scanning tunneling microscope to move individual atoms, which act as pixels, to form pictures in each frame. According to Guinness World Records, this is the smallest movie ever made. [url]
- Researchers in Japan have devised a way to do X-ray crystallography without the need for an actual single crystal. The trick is to get the molecules in a sample to diffuse into a porous crystal structure, which then creates an ordered array of molecules that scatter X-rays like the atoms in a crystal. [url]
- Berkeley Lab researchers have imaged a single molecule with amazing resolution, showing individual carbon atoms and the bonds between them. Using non-contact atomic force microscopy, they imaged the molecule right before and right after a complex organic reaction, which clearly showed with single-bond resolution that the reactant molecule had transformed into various final products. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.