Scientists Capture Atom-by-Atom Images of Molecules Before and After a Chemical Reaction

Posted on June 1, 2013

Scientists at University of California, Berkeley have captured an atomic-scale picture of a chemical before and after it reacts for the first time. The scientists used an advanced atomic force microscope to take the atom-by-atom pictures, including images of the chemical bonds between atoms. Until now these steps have only been inferred by scientists.

Felix Fischer, UC Berkeley assistant professor of chemistry, said in a statement, "Even though I use these molecules on a day to day basis, actually being able to see these pictures blew me away. Wow! This was what my teachers used to say that you would never be able to actually see, and now we have it here."

The researchers say the ability to now image molecular reactions will give chemists the ability to fine-tune reactions to get the products they want. It will also help chemistry students learn more about chemical reactions.

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