Single molecule images published.
The IBM team that took these images was the same one that took the first ever single-molecule image in 2009. The new work is so detailed that the type of atomic bonds between the atoms can be seen.
The team…used a variant of a technique called atomic force microscopy, or AFM.
AFM uses a tiny metal tip passed over a surface, whose even tinier deflections are measured as the tip is scanned to and fro over a sample.
They are carried out at a scale so small that room temperature induces wigglings of the AFM’s constituent molecules that would blur the images, so the apparatus is kept at a cool -268C.
We need to just stop for a second and remember the fact that we are looking at atomic bonds here, people. Amazing stuff.
How accurate is this? This is what the model of this molecule looks like (hexabenzocoronene):