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Aug. 29 2009 - 8:35 pm | 9,044 views | 3 recommendations | 9 comments

Behold! The First Photo Of A Molecule!

First Photo Of A Molecule

This is it. Every single last atom. Sure, it’s a bit fuzzy, but still…very cool.

Here’s more from Daily Mail:

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.

In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen.

To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.

And one last bit of info about how this little guy was photographed…

The experiment was also performed inside a high vacuum at the extremely cold temperature of -268C to avoid stray gas molecules or atomic vibrations from affecting the measurements.

So yes, this isn’t necessarily a post about politics, but trust me…this will get political eventually. :-)

Here’s the question: What’s the next great scientific breakthrough on the horizon?

(Photo: IBM via Daily Mail)


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  1. collapse expand

    Bueller? Anyone?

    What’s with the tease – what are you getting at already with that infinitely open ended question?

    btw to call it a ‘photograph’ implies that visible light EM radiation (i.e. photons), was used to create the image, when in fact it’s a computer generated construct of measurements of the electrostatic charge differential between a metallic stylus and the molecule in question. Furthermore, scientists have been using X-Ray diffraction to determine 3D structures of peptides and DNA (which are molecules as well, albeit larger than pentacene) for decades. (http://www.mrl.ucsb.edu/mrl/centralfacilities/xray/xray-basics/index.html#x7)

  2. collapse expand

    What am I getting at? Just trying to open up discussion to talk about science on a political blog. That’s why it’s broader.

    Why do you care?

    • collapse expand

      Why do i care? because i took the time to read this article, become interested, and follow the link to the source article in an attempt to understand the possible political implications of this ‘discovery’ as well as what scientific breakthrough it could possibly portend.

      After spending much time without the foggiest idea of what you could be getting at and feeling like one of Ben Stein’s students in FBDO i thought i would bite and ask what you are getting at.

      thanks.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    And in other news, scientists report that the search for Dick Cheney’s conscience is over. This photograph, reportedly taken at the site, a high vacuum, ultra cold, undisclosed location…

  4. collapse expand

    What’s the next great scientific breakthrough on the horizon?
    Suggestion: Follow Al Gore on Twitter. Al is the inventor of the internet, and the diviner of scientific proof of man-caused anthropogenic global warming. He keeps these indisputable truths in his lock box. Al has the prizes and carbon credits to back it all up. Al G. B da man!
    A scientist’s scientist if there ever was one!

  5. collapse expand

    Wow! It actually does look like what you see in a textbook. Very interesting.

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    I run the multi-partisan blog Donklephant. If you never been before, it's a site where everybody is welcome to come and have an open, honest debate about the news of the day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it's always interesting.

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