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Cool, but... (5, Funny)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230045)

I guess I expected it to look a little less like a High-school textbook drawing of the bonds. The only thing that would make it moreso is if little Cs were set next to each atom.

Re:Cool, but... (3, Funny)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230151)

...The only thing that would make it moreso is if little Cs were set next to each atom.

They are still working on it.

Re:Cool, but... (5, Funny)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230867)

The little C's are there, but they are in 0.000000001 font. I think it's Arial.

Re:Cool, but... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232549)

I thought links to articles with titles like "Scientists make detailed image of first molecule!" without the article having the actual picture in it.

I'm used to CNN pulling that crap on their web site because they're too cheap to pay the outrageous price for the picture of the then-briefly hot story, but science?

You guys are killing me!

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29232851)

Guh. I hate Arial.

Well, at least it's not Comic Sans.

Re:Cool, but... (1)

acklenx (646834) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230245)

textbook drawing of the bonds

While I'm sure they were trying to give an accurate representation of the molocule in the textbook, I always figured it was just a good way to _represent_ the significant parts of the idealized model - not they they had seen a photograph and then decided to sketch it out. And I thought atoms (and therefore molocules) were mostly empty space...

Re:Cool, but... (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230493)

Maybe it was a long exposure (relative to the speed of electrons!)? So even though it's empty space most of the time, the long enough exposure catches the electrons in every part of the path of the bond.

Re:Cool, but... (0, Troll)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230507)

I don't actually know how AFM actually works, so this could be just bullshitting.

Re:Cool, but... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232771)

Well, even without knowing how AFM actually works, the pictures are still fairly gobsmackingly awesome. It's quite instructive to see how they show the terminal rings as more "open" due to the way the charges are distributed within the molecule.

Re:Cool, but... (3, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230637)

Well, TFA says they measured the repulsive force caused by Pauli exclusion principle. That means that their microscope was sensible to filled orbitals, not electrons.

Anyway, you can't really take a picture of an electron bounded into an atom. The uncertainty principle makes it impossible so say exactly where around the atom the electron is. The only way to measure that is releasing the electron from its bound, and then, it says nothing about where it was just before you release it.

Re:Cool, but... (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231183)

The other reason you can't take a picture of an electron is because photons of light are larger than the thing you are trying to image. Also you misquoted the uncertainly principle. It says you CAN find the precise location of an electron, but not its momentum. Or vice-versa find its momentum, but not position.

The photo is of the electric field. (5, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230523)

Atoms are mostly empty space. The photo is of the electric field caused by the electrons.

This photo [gizmodo.com] is better. The article says it is a 20-hour time exposure. The photo was available through a Reddit story [reddit.com] yesterday.

Re:The photo is of the electric field. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29232577)

Hmmm, although this looks great, their technique doesn't seem to allow for the shadows seen in the image of five. It's not recording light, it's feeling them very gently. Anyone care to explain why a feely-recorder manages to see shadows?

Re:The photo is of the electric field. (-1, Offtopic)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232745)

Bonds, Atomic Bonds...

(That comment was on the gizmodo site. Gizmodo user "Jrsy Devil's Food Cake®" deserves the funny mod.)

Re:Cool, but... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231361)

Well, the textbook drawings are supposed to represent the underlying physical reality, so it would be disappointing if the drawings and the "photo" didn't resemble one another.

5 Rings? (1, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230051)

Miyamoto Musashi [wikipedia.org] would be intrigued.

Re:5 Rings? (2, Funny)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230655)

Miyamoto Musashi would be intrigued.

So would the International Olympic Committee [wikipedia.org] !

Next story: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230057)

Next story: IBM is sued by the IOC.

As expected... (4, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230061)

The molecule blinked right when the snapshot was taken.

Re:As expected... (1)

leonardofelin (1211778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230907)

At least it's only one molecule. Imagine how many pictures they would need until they had several molecules smiling and not blinking.

Re:As expected... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231749)

At least it's only one molecule. Imagine how many pictures they would need until they had several molecules smiling and not blinking.

But imagine the time and processing power involved in the sheer amount of red eye correction needed for multiple complex molecules, to say nothing of entire grams of matter.

Molecules are made of atoms, right? (-1, Flamebait)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230097)

Impressive, so in 1989 [cyberpresse.ca] they were able to image atoms [ibm.com] , and only 2 decades later they already went on to molecules?

Just imagine what we'll see another twenty years from now! At Moore's law speed, we might even see cameras able to take images of macroscopic objects in our lifetime!

Re:Molecules are made of atoms, right? (5, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230121)

Good job reading the article.

FTA:

Thanks to specialised microscopes, we have long been able to see the beauty of single atoms. But strange though it might seem, imaging larger molecules at the same level of detail has not been possible â" atoms are robust enough to withstand existing tools, but the structures of molecules are not. Now researchers at IBM have come up with a way to do it.

emphasis mine.

Re:Molecules are made of atoms, right? (0)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230283)

So what is a molecule, then? At what size does it become big enough that it's easy?

This image [mcgill.ca] , for example, shows individual atoms, not in much greater number than the pentacene, although they are attached to a bigger object and can't roll around. These [imagemet.com] and these [cam.ac.uk] , however, seem similar to the pentacene. It's still impressive and cutting edge, just not that new.

Re:Molecules are made of atoms, right? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230385)

They're not similar in the least. Your examples use lattices, which are more stable than individual molecules. RTFA already.

(inb4 "rtfa? you must be new here")

Re:Molecules are made of atoms, right? (1)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230509)

I see [cam.ac.uk] no [googlepages.com] lattice. [osaka-u.ac.jp]

Unless you refer to the lattice under the molecule. They don't float.

Re:Molecules are made of atoms, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29231777)

The resolution of the image of pentacene generated by the researchers is what this news is about.

You'll notice from your last link that there's a scale given. Roughly 30 pixels equate to 3nm. Pentacene is 1.4nm long.

Your argument is the equivalent of saying graphical output at 1080p is worthless because we already had CGA in the 80s.

Re:Molecules are made of atoms, right? (2, Informative)

KraftDinner (1273626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230427)

It's not that the molecule itself needs to be big enough, it's the structure of it. The stuff holding it together. The stuff holding the molecule together could not withstand the instruments, but now they've developed a way to do it.

What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230107)

So if the Pantacene is made of Benzene and the Benzene is C6H6, what is that gray flat smooth material that the molecules are sitting on top of in the second picture? Is this simply due to a focus so incredibly tuned that you can't see past the Pentacene molecules? I would expect that to be a field of bumps and crazy random shapes because it has to be made of some molecule or atom, right? How would they finish the slide/table/surface of that so accurately? I'm used to seeing that when you see bacteria or viruses with an electron microscope, what is in effect here that we don't see an alien landscape back-dropping these molecules? I'm not calling into question the authenticity of the image, just curious if anyone knows.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230157)

I caught that too, and I am calling it into question. Especially when combined with the fact that they seem to be casting a shadow. Why/how would a probe detect a shadow? Artist's rendition, perhaps?

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (5, Interesting)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230315)

An AFM image will often look like it has a shadow. In that case, the tip was probably scanning from the right, and it "bounced" after being raised by the pentacene. The shadow size is related to the tip speed as much as the molecule height.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (5, Informative)

Sorny (521429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230403)

You are correct. I get the chance to see AFM readouts at work (you see some really cool shit in a fab), and this is a bit higher resolution that I'm used to seeing, but the "shadow" is something you'll frequently see.

I've never "seen" the substrate from AFM scans at work either.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230399)

From the Science article http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/325/5944/1110 (require subscription):

" The asymmetry in the molecular imaging in (D) (showing a "shadow" only on the left side of the molecules) is probably caused by asymmetric adsorption geometry of the CO molecule at the tip apex. "

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231929)

Yes, I'm sure you PhD in molecular physics and your extensive experience with AFM allows you to make such propositions. Perhaps you should contact your colleges and let them in on your ground breaking realization~

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (0, Flamebait)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232051)

Little did I know that a PhD was required to use my eyes and draw conclusions. How will you ever forgive me for attempting to think without a permit?

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230195)

This image isn't from an electron microscope, it uses AFM (atomic force microscopy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_force_microscope), which actually touches the molecules with its tip. In this case though, they bonded a single carbon monoxoide molecule to the AFM cantilever so that it would only interact with the oxygen atoms on the pentacene molecule. I imagine it didn't image the substrate at all because of that

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (5, Interesting)

mastahYee (1588623) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230273)

This image isn't from an electron microscope, it uses AFM (atomic force microscopy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_force_microscope [wikipedia.org] ), which actually touches the molecules with its tip. In this case though, they bonded a single carbon monoxoide molecule to the AFM cantilever so that it would only interact with the oxygen atoms on the pentacene molecule. I imagine it didn't image the substrate at all because of that

It doesn't actually touch the molecules, because weak force cancels out the attraction. That's kind of a key point here because touching it was too destructive to get these images in the first place.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (4, Insightful)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231023)

It doesn't actually touch the molecules, because weak force cancels out the attraction.

At this scale the meaning of words like "touch" gets a little fuzzy.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (5, Interesting)

MadAnalyst (959778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230421)

A lot of microscopy like this will be done using very carefully prepared atomically smooth surfaces [omicron.de] . A good example would be Cu(111) [ibm.com] . I haven't' dug in, but they might also work with something akin to the "depth of field" in optical work to largely exclude the effect of the background.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230461)

So if the Pantacene is made of Benzene and the Benzene is C6H6, what is that gray flat smooth material that the molecules are sitting on top of in the second picture? Is this simply due to a focus so incredibly tuned that you can't see past the Pentacene molecules? I would expect that to be a field of bumps and crazy random shapes because it has to be made of some molecule or atom, right? How would they finish the slide/table/surface of that so accurately? I'm used to seeing that when you see bacteria or viruses with an electron microscope, what is in effect here that we don't see an alien landscape back-dropping these molecules? I'm not calling into question the authenticity of the image, just curious if anyone knows.

From the paper: "In this work, we present atomically resolved AFM measurements of pentacene both on a Cu(111) substrate and on a NaCl insulating film. For atomic resolution with the AFM, it is necessary to operate in the short-range regime of forces, where chemical interactions give substantial contributions."

This was a scanning probe microscope, and the tip of the probe was a single carbon monoxide atom. Apparently the CO didn't interact with the Cu or NaCl in such a way that it saw contrast from atom to atom, but it had a finer interaction with the atoms in the pentacene.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230533)

Sorry to reply to myself, but here's the most important reason for the lack of substrate heterogeneity in the image:

"The AFM images (Fig. 1, C and D) were recorded in constant-height mode; that is, the tip was scanned without z feedback parallel to the surface while the frequency shift {Delta}f was being recorded (16). In this and all of the following measurements, the tip height z is always given with respect to the STM set point over the substrate."

In school, when I ran AFM I allow feedback from the tip to adjust the height of the probe so that it maintains contact with the thing I'm imaging, regardless of topography. Here, they had a very smooth substrate and then set the height of their probe to a fixed position above it.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (4, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230857)

Also the physioelectronic structure of the cu(111) is diffuse enough such that you can't easily resolve individual atoms. Each copper atom is so heavily bonded to it's neighbor that there is very little difference from one atom to the next. If you think about it, that makes sense since copper is a conductor, so the electrons must be able to move from one atom to the next easily. Graphite on the other hand (polymerized carbon like the pentacene here) is an insulator -- much less overlap between the orbitals of neighboring atoms.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29231399)

Except that graphite is a conductor.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1)

stei7766 (1359091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231655)

Only in certain directions.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232037)

Fair enough, but if you were using it as a substrate I imagine you'd use conductive graphene sheets, and not a substrate aligned in the xy plane.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1)

6031769 (829845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232147)

This was a scanning probe microscope, and the tip of the probe was a single carbon monoxide atom.

Er, no. It may have been a single carbon monoxide molecule, however.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230605)

Clearly this is a fraud perpretrated by a fanatical intro to chemistry teacher.

Seriously though, maybe they cleaned up the background noise or maybe the tip (which they modified with carbon monoxide so it was "tuned") was extremely selective in how it responded to the substrate material.

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230711)

Atomic force microscopes can be very selective to "height" (being height the dimension perpendicular to the smple).

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230971)

I've seen speculation on the sensitivity of the carbon monoxide tip to the NaCl or Cu (111) substrates. And I would like to point out that there is no oxygen in pentacene. What about the speculation of the depth of field of this AFM technique to answer the "super focus" question?

Re:What Material Is the Pantacene Sitting On? (2, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231381)

Scrith.

5 linked rings (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230123)

4 calling birds
3 french hens
2 turtle doves
and a partridge in a pair tree?

Re:5 linked rings (5, Funny)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230225)

You should have gone with:

5 linked rings
4 carbon bonds
3 electrons
2 tiny dots
and a grainy image on my PC...

Re:5 linked rings (2, Funny)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230645)

Ah ha ha ha! It's like the original joke never happened!
(Much like the 2003 Hulk movie)

Re:5 linked rings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230353)

Pear tree?

Re:5 linked rings (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230869)

Naw, he decided to pare the pears. Now it's just a pair [of] tree[s].

Impressive (5, Insightful)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230179)

This is a very impressive image that's in the same league as the famous Hubble deep field image. Both images confirm what was already known, but in a more direct and visual way.

Re:Impressive (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230545)

The Hubble Deep Field image actually showed what was believed to not exist in an area.

Re:Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230601)

Not that astronomers didn't believe anything was there, just that they hadn't seen anything there yet.

Re:Impressive (2, Informative)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231091)

I fail to see the novelty of this, it's another little incremental improvement in AFM resulution. They were able to image benzene rings with AFM 20 years ago; I remember in grad school one of the guys showing a video of them actually making a lot of substituted rings rearrange their layers on command, like a row of soldiers.

Re:Impressive (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231489)

It's a basic tenant of cosmology that the universe looks pretty much the same in all directions. If there really was a big empty spot that would be a very interesting finding.

The location of the Hubble deep field was chosen because of the lack of nearby, bright objects. There are many objects in the HDF that are bright enough to be accessible to professional optical telescopes, quite a few that are within reach of some of the larger amateur telescopes and radio surveys had revealed all kinds of stuff, previous to the HDF exposure.

link to journal abstract (5, Informative)

jschen (1249578) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230197)

For anyone who wants the original paper, published in Science today, it may be found here [sciencemag.org] . The abstract is free.

Re:link to journal abstract (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230287)

The abstract is free.

But the concrete is a bitch.

Re:link to journal abstract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230437)

Link to Science is broken.

Re:link to journal abstract (2, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230499)

And if anyone wants to see more images from the IBM team, they have a flickr photostream. [flickr.com] It's really impressive.

Polymers are molecules too (2, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230387)

Single strands of synthetic polymers and DNA have been imageable for many years. I imagine many of us on slashdot have personally acquired images of these single molecules before.

Re:Polymers are molecules too (1, Interesting)

caffiend666 (598633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231383)

Don't forget, a good diamond is basically one big carbon molecule. A diamond's not only imageable, but you can feel/hold/interact with it.

Re:Polymers are molecules too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29231877)

tho i have never been in a chain gang
my chain is longer than yours
and no im not pulling your chain

Re:Polymers are molecules too (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232071)

The images are stunning and I congratulate IBM for their efforts.

Re:Polymers are molecules too (1)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232221)

The point of the research is that nothing so far has come close to creating images of molecules this detailed before. We've seen poorly-resolved images of polymers and macromolecules like C60, and we've seen images of individual atoms on surfaces; hell, we've even seen standing electron waves on metal surfaces [ibm.com] , but we've never been able to image a molecule quite like this before. This is one of those science pictures I see every once in a while that just takes my breath away. Amazing work.

Exactly (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232685)

For example with 3D electron microscopy. It requires multiple copies of the same molecule on a chilled plate, take a progressive electron microscopy scan of the plate, and the 3D image is reconstructed from the multiple images. Individual atoms can often be identified by relative size. It's been awhile since I've looked at this but I can only assume the field has progressed since then.

Theory now science? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230443)

So, does this mean for all those years when we see a modelled structure of a molecule, it has been theory as one has never been observed? So now, theory has been proven and is now science as it has now been observed?

Re:Theory now science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230589)

No, theory is science. Observing doesn't make something 'science' anymore than not observing something makes it 'not science', whatever you think they mean. I'm sure many others here would give you the definition of theory but, reading your response, the best definition of theory for you is 'a theory is a fact, proven by extensive experiments'. We didn't need to do this to 'prove' anything, except that it can be done, and it's pretty cool.

Re:Theory now science? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230795)

Theory is not fact until it has been proven by science. Science, where something can be observed, repeated and gives the same/similar outcome every time. That's what I understand theory and science as.

Re:Theory now science? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231537)

Science never proves anything. It only gives better and better probability that a particular theory accurately reflects reality. Or at least can predict observations.

Measuring the distribution of forces across a molecule with an atomic force microscope is certainly a valuable observation and I'm sure the technique will help refine and test theories of molecular arrangement, but it isn't "proof" and it doesn't suddenly make anything "true."

Re:Theory now science? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231819)

A hypothesis becomes a theory when some one comes up with a tested that could prove it false.

This is why you need a falsifiable test to be considered a scientific theory* to begin with.
By that, I mean a test that could show the hypothesis is false.

So my hypothesis may be, all object fall at the same rate.
My first falsifiable test might be to go to the top of Piza, and drop two objects with different mass. An observer at the bottom jots down which hit the ground first.
Then the test can be refined. For example I might have a dozen objects and randomly select two, whose weight I don't know. drop them and have 3 observers, at least 2 of which have no stake in the outcome.

and so on. Eventual someone will show that two objects didn't hit the ground at the same time. say.. a hammer and a feather.
What this means is either my hypothesis is wrong, or the theory needs refining.
So I can say "Well there is wind resistance and that's why they don't fall at the same rate." Considering all the tests, this seem plausible and science can go on with the caveat that wind resistance portion has not been tested. Until we get to the moon and drop a hammer and feather..or a vacuum chamber. at that point that refinement is shown to be true.

Maybe you have a hypothesis that the world is flat.
I ahve a test showing it isn't. I send a ship and we see it move below the horizon.
Then you say, well it's not perfectly flat, it's slight curve.

Then I go up in a rocket and orbit around the earth, showing it is in fact a sphere.
Now what should hppen is eather a refinemnt, or your hypothisis to tossed aside and we go on.
No other refines can be made, so we toss it out, we say good show, you were wrong, but science moves on. We have a brandy and have a different discussion.
What should not happen is you claim it's a big conspiracy out to get you, and in fact the earth is flat and you would prove it if the man didn't keep you down and send his black helicopters after you.
Sadly that does happen, and it should stop.

What also should not happen is you close your eye and scream I believe the world is flat so I get equal time LALALALALA.

hmm, didn't realize I had that on my mind.

Yes I do know that no one actually thought the world was flat, and when a civilization got to the point where they started thinking about it is was proven to be round.

One ring to rule all, but.... (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230459)

What do you do with 5 rings chained together?

Re:One ring to rule all, but.... (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231265)

Sauron: When I said that I wanted all of the rings to be linked to mine, this wasn't what I had in mind...

Re:One ring to rule all, but.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231837)

Get sued by the Olympic committee~

What the hell... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230579)

The picture is marked in units of HERTZ and AMPS?

Re:What the hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230685)

I'd imagine the energy they're sensing to get this image has a range of frequencies associated with it and they're assigning some portion of that range artificial shading. As for the Amps, I have no idea.

Re:What the hell... (4, Informative)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230751)

The marking in Hz is most probably referred to the vibration of the cantilever (see how an AFM works), while the other unit is not Amps but Angstrom (1Å = 0.1nm). The pentacene molecule is long roughly 17Å. This stuff is on another planet of cool.

Re:What the hell... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230763)

...and what in God's name are negative hertz supposed to represent?

Re:What the hell... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231551)

Do a Fourier transform of a time signal. You get positive and negative frequencies.

Re:What the hell... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231839)

Symmetrical, IIRC... but I don't think that has much to do with this. Geekoid's thinking is more along my line of reasoning, esp. after some of the explanations people have given of how AFM scanning works.

Re:What the hell... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231559)

I don't know; however that won't keep me from speculating...

Maybe it's based on a base line? so, for examples, if your baseling was 10Hz, -1Hz would be 9.

Now that doesn't seem to make sens at the number sI am using, but when dealing with the number you would be using to do this, it makes more sens the a 8 decimal place number.
Also, it my be a standard defined unit, not 1 Hz.
So a uit might by in .00001 Hz.
or 12345423 Hz.

Re:What the hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230807)

Angstroms 10^-10 meters.
Hertz is the deflection of the resonant frequency, which gives meaning to the "height" color. It's as a contour map.

Re:What the hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230817)

Hertz and Angstroms, in fact.

1 Angstrom is 10^-10 m (or 0.1nm)

The Hertz are because Atomic Force Microscopy (in non-contact mode) works by detecting the change in resonant frequency of the tip caused by nearby force fields. Hence, we plot this change in resonant frequency, and get an intensity plot for the interaction we've designed our tip to detect.

Damn, If they scale this thing up... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230593)

...we may finally be able to see what color the tinker-toy rods and balls are on pentacene.

misleading summary and article (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230675)

The summary and the linked article are misleading. This is not the "first time a single molecule has been imaged." It's the first time a single molecule has been imaged using AFM. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) has been used for about a decade now to image single molecules. Just a simple google image search [google.com] will show you lots of them. My favorite is this guy [jmtour.com] who is imaging something he's calling "nanocars" which are single molecules. These finding are in no way less impressive due to resolution they've achieved, but you really don't need to overstate the conclusions by making these classic science-journalism blunders.

Try harder (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231503)

Those are a series of nanotubes, not a molecule on jmtour.com
I saw no picture of a single molecule on your google link, either.

For some reason... (2, Funny)

Myria (562655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230723)

Why do I have the sudden urge to play Arkanoid?

I'm inpressed by the chemists who deduced ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29230745)

the structures of the molecule with such accuracy - without actually seeing it!

Now, that's genius!

Re:I'm inpressed by the chemists who deduced ... (4, Informative)

MadTinfoilHatter (940931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231705)

The funny thing is that the first person to deduce this (Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz) realized the solution to the problem of structure, after having a dream in which a snake bit its own tail.

Wow, this is amazing (1)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230747)

Wow, this is amazing. It looks much like what I'd expect from high school chemistry all those years ago :)

Watson and Crick wouldn't have had that much trouble with DNA if they had these tools... will the IBM scientists be able to do this for more complex molecules? As a complete layman in Chemistry, I think I recall that there are lots of work that involve the spatial geometry of molecules.

Simply Awesome (5, Interesting)

gpronger (1142181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29230927)

I likely would have had this post up about 20 earlier, but I've just managed to pick myself off the floor after taking a look at the photo. As a chemist, I personally find the verification of theory a significant milestone in our understanding. It's one thing to have a theory, and then through somewhat serendipitous means, verify the theory, but to have an actual photo, brings it to a new level.

Greg

Yes, I do have a life outside the lab, but maybe not as much of one as I once thought.

Go IBM! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231323)

IBM has their faults, but it's good to see a company doing cutting edge RnD and producing results.

Press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29231613)

Moar information: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/28267.wss

Heisenburg Uncertainy Principle? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29231631)

I am not a nuclear physicist so maybe my question is understandable...

I thought that when you get to the molecular level The uncertainty principle would start to take effect. Very large molecules like DNA might be observable but what about smaller molecules? At what size scale would the uncertainty principle make observation impossible?

Re:Heisenburg Uncertainy Principle? (1)

6031769 (829845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29232269)

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle applies at the quantum level and its effect becomes more pronounced as the sizes of the objects and systems decrease. However, this alone imposes no limit on observability.

Put simply, the principle states that the more precisely you know the position of a particle the less precisely you can know its momentum (and therefore velocity). At the quantum level the observation necessarily perturbs the system being observed.

Kirk To Enterprise 1 To Beam Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29232617)

How far off can destructive digitization be now?

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