Sunday, August 30, 2009

Imaged For The First Time

A single molecule.

The image is 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.

You can see the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen.
We are not so good that you can see the individual atoms, but still, the lumps of carbon chain, visible, just as we envisioned it is nothing short of astonishing.

Wow. I don't know what is more amazing, that we actually did something like this, or that the molecule looks exactly like I used to draw them in Mr. Wood's Chemistry class. I used to think that the way we drew compounds was for simplicity's sake. Nothing more that a diagram, a learning tool to easily see where the atomic connections would be made. To actually see that the molecule looks like that blows my mind.

All matter is nothing more than spheres touching one another. Simply amazing.


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