IBM Scientists First to Image the Anatomy of a Molecule

IBM Research Zurich scientists Leo Gross, Fabian Mohn, Nikolaj Moll and Gerhard Meyer, in collaboration with Peter Liljeroth of Utrecht University, used an atomic force microscope (AFM) operated in an ultrahigh vacuum and at very low temperatures ( 268°C or 451°F) to image the chemical structure of individual pentacene molecules. With their AFM, the IBM scientists, for the first time ever, were able to look through the electron cloud and see the atomic backbone of an individual molecule. While not a direct technological comparison, this is reminiscent of X-rays that pass through soft tissue to enable clear images of bones.

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