Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Most Detailed Photos of an Atom Yet

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-downmanship dept.

Science 229

BuzzSkyline writes "Ukrainian researchers have managed to take pictures of atoms that reveal structure of the electron clouds surrounding carbon nuclei in unprecedented detail. Although the images offer no surprises (they look much like the sketches of electron orbitals included in high school science texts), this is the first time that anyone has directly imaged atoms at this level, rather than inferring the structure of the orbitals from indirect measurements such as electron or X-ray interferometry."

cancel ×

229 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

really? (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423701)

looks like it was done in MS paint to me...

like your penis, then? (0, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423721)

nt

Re:like your penis, then? (-1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423735)

why do you care about my penis? homo.

Re:like your penis, then? (0, Offtopic)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423799)

Trolling isn't your forte, is it?

Re:like your penis, then? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424099)

one thing you can safely say about any scientific discovery like this - IT WASN'T DISCOVERED BY BLACK PEOPLE. hell, nothing was, not unless you really like peanuts.

Re:really? (5, Funny)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423901)

The shadows are all wrong.

mirror (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424085)

.
(not actual size)

Re:really? (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424091)

No thats just the new Ribbon interface

Re:really? (1)

sq3rjick (1550813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424095)

It's a shop! I can tell by the pixels, and from having seen many shops in my day.

Re:really? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424163)

Although, in B, the breasts do appear to be in proportion.

Re:really? (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424337)

I hate silicone-enhanced boobs. Why can't women just leave them alone? There's nothing wrong with a nice firm A or B.

Re:really? (1)

Frools (1326479) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424411)

Those are all natural carbon breasts!

Re:really? (1)

nih (411096) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424239)

That's no atom!

Re:really? (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424469)

It's a space station !

Re:really? (4, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423953)

Physicists are not photographers! They obviously had the shutter speed too low - Look how blurry the picture is!

Re:really? (4, Funny)

miro f (944325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424343)

can't really call it a photograph if it was taken with electrons rather than light.
I wonder how they can tell the electron is blue?

Re:really? (2, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424535)

Duh. It's in a vacuum! Of course it's blue.

Re:really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424153)

OMG it's goatse!

Re:really? (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424269)

I wonder if it's a pirated MS paint...

Re:really? (2, Funny)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424529)

Looks like the magic 8-ball to me.

Speaking as a chemist (5, Interesting)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423733)

This is amazing. We'd theorised orbitals to exist, and they worked very well. We could calculate the shapes of molecules and make detailed predictions that came true to 10 decimal places. Quantum mechanics as applied to electrons in atoms is the most successful and the most rigorously tested theory ever developed.

And yet, to finally see a real orbital, not a simulation. Looks like a 1s and a 2p, right there for the looking!

Re:Speaking as a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423819)

Orbitals are not real ! They are mathematical constructs and they are not observables. People think that just because you can calculate something it is real, that is not the case. The two previous "observation" of orbitals were bogus and this seems to be the same thing over again. Orbitals are one-electron functions and thus an approximation to the wavefunction of the system.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (4, Insightful)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423979)

We can only "approximate" orbitals in atoms with more than one electron, true. That's the same as saying that numerical methods won't "exactly" solve a function. We can still get really accurate results, even if it's computationally expensive. FT-IR of heteronuclear diatomics, anyone?. Orbitals still retain the basic shapes in multiple-electron atoms.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (3, Interesting)

anarchyboy (720565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424125)

Depends what you mean by real, certainly splitting your many electron wave function into orbitals works well and allows an accurate approximation of the system as a whole. The orbitals do form a basis of functions for the system (with some acceptable approximations) so while your quantum state is the whole thing you can think of it as being built of oribitals. This is true in a mathematical sense its an expansion of the quantum function as a set of orbital functions. This is as valid as any other expansion like a taylor or powerseries expansion. So orbitals are real enough in that sense. You can then calculate observables for the individual electrons since your operators will act only on the single electron and your oribtals are normalised the rest of the electrons essentialy go away and you can calculate things like the average radial ditance etc and build up pictures of what that electron "looks like". Since the orbital functions are calculated (numerically) as a multi electron system even though the end product allows you to look at individual electrons as orbitals the overall wave function (all the orbitals combined) is still a very accurate picture of the system

In fact the experimental evidence showing a physical picture of these orbitals just goes to show that this is in fact a very sensible and useful way of picturing your atom.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (2, Informative)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424743)

Depends what you mean by real

By "real" I mean things that obey the laws of non-contradiction and causality, which wavefunctions don't (which is why we see experimental violations of Bell's Inequalities.)

So I see this argument over whether or not spherical harmonics are "real" kind of beside the point: they are a mathematically useful decomposition of a conceptual artefact that is already ontologically problematic.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424831)

So, is that electron cloud thingy like bugs whizzing by your car on the highway or something? I need car pictures to understand this doohickey.

(do not mod) (4, Funny)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424221)

ignore. Reply done to undo bad moderation

Re:(do not mod) (5, Funny)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424329)

MOD PARENT UP!

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423933)

It's confirming the theory, I agree that is amazing!

It makes me very suspicious indeed. (4, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424027)

Why? Because the "orbitals" are actually solutions of the Schroedinger Wave Equation. They are images or a probability distribution in abstract space. Electrons are not clouds or points, they are things we don't really understand but describe by means of quantum mechanics. So I am deeply suspicious of the picture, because there is no physical object of that shape to image.

Re:It makes me very suspicious indeed. (3, Insightful)

vikhyat (1593841) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424385)

It's probably like one of those long exposure photographs.

Re:It makes me very suspicious indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424409)

So I am deeply suspicious of the picture, because there is no physical object of that shape to image.

Sounds like you've caught religion. Off of QM of all things.

Re:It makes me very suspicious indeed. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424419)

I think of electrons as wavicles - little chopped-off bits of waves that are bouncing-around the atom but not able to escape due to the proton's attractive force.

Re:It makes me very suspicious indeed. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424753)

If I understand it correctly, what they've done is to "feed" the carbon atom with a stream of electrons (also known as a current...) and then the've imaged the pattern that forms as one electron after another is shot away from the atom to a phosphor surface.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (2, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424035)

Speaking as a chemist, could you explain what exactly this means? Up until this very moment I have been under the misguided notion that the nucleus of an atom was orbited by electrons within groups called "shells", and these worked very similarly to satellites around a planet. I've looked up and read (for around 5 minutes, so give me a little time to properly read up on it) that this is not the case, and that the "shells" model given to 16 year olds is (understandably) over-simplified.

So, could you in any way explain how we get from "think of it as a planet with many moons" to this [wikipedia.org] or more importantly, what gives orbitals this shape?

Maybe I'm opening Pandora's Box here, but I'm intruiged.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (5, Insightful)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424129)

Basically, a chemistry education is very much like fast-forwarding through 300+ years of science history. Some dead-ends are skipped, but by and large, the simpler and more self-contained a theory was, the older it is and the earlier it's taught in school. The university-taught molecular orbital theory is (debatably) too rich and complex to be taught any earlier.

The moons-orbiting theory fit with all the available evidence at the time it was developed. Think of orbitals as clouds of probability where, if you tried to pin down the electron, it might be. A moons-orbiting theory would give this probability cloud as a thin donut around the atomic waist. The shapes of orbitals as depicted in wikipedia etc. are consequences of the maths of quantum mechanics. It's annoyingly non-intuitive.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424267)

Over here in the UK we threw away the orbital theory at the age of 16/17 in favour of the probability clouds. I'm sure it was still a simplification of (or precursor to) whatever theory was cutting edge at the time, but it was part of a pre-university chemistry education. And quite interesting too.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424383)

I don't remember learning any chemistry in my U.S. government-run school. Although I did get an A in drivers ed and sewing/cooking (home economics).

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

nsuccorso (41169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424775)

What a shame. I remember taking college level Chemistry in my U.S. government-run school. (Well, actually, my school was run by state government like most public schools. You must have gone to school on a military base or something.) And getting credit for it when I went to University. On the other hand, I didn't get drivers ed until I graduated, and I had to pay for it at a private driving school.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424821)

Same in Canada.

I was rather disappointed when I got to university and they taught us the same stuff again! I'd figured that pbty clouds were yet another lie. :)

In all seriousness, E=even in the earlier grades when we were taught orbitals, valence shell electron respulsion theory, etc were told that it was a simplified model which worked well most of the time. Same deal for the Ideal Gas Law, Newtonia Physics, etc.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424875)

Same at my (Public) US High School.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (5, Informative)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424137)

Speaking as a chemist, could you explain what exactly this means? Up until this very moment I have been under the misguided notion that the nucleus of an atom was orbited by electrons within groups called "shells", and these worked very similarly to satellites around a planet.

You're thinking of the Bohr model [wikipedia.org] .

So, could you in any way explain how we get from "think of it as a planet with many moons" to this or more importantly, what gives orbitals this shape?

It's because the Schrodinger equation is a Laplacian [drexel.edu] , and the hydrogen atom is a spherically symmetric problem [gsu.edu] . The natural basis for the Laplacian in spherical coordinates is spherical harmonics [wikipedia.org] . The shape you are seeing is the characteristic shape of different spherical harmonics, corresponding to the angular momentum of the electron.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (2, Informative)

S3D (745318) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424155)

Up until this very moment I have been under the misguided notion that the nucleus of an atom was orbited by electrons within groups called "shells", and these worked very similarly to satellites around a planet.

Think of a satellite randomly teleporting around the planet, leaving ghostly afterglow behind. The "glow" would have the shape of those shells. Or the "brightness" of the shell is the probability of existence of "satellite" in the point of space. What gives orbitals their shape is the Schrodinger equation.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

mwlewis (794711) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424211)

You probably mean that the Schrodinger equation describes the shape of the orbitals.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (5, Informative)

The_Duck271 (1494641) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424171)

At atomic scales electrons cannot be thought of as points; instead they are smeared out probability distributions. They don't exist at any given point, there's a chance for a given electron to be found throughout a whole region of space, and the probability of finding it at any given point is given by a probability distribution. These probability distributions are called wave functions, and given an electron's wave function you can calculate the likelihood of getting different results when you take a measurement of the electron. It is a strange aspect of quantum mechanics that you can't calculate exactly what you will measure, you can only establish the probabilities of each possible outcome.

Another aspect of quantum mechanics is that if you measure, say, the energy of an electron in an atom, you can only get one of a certain set of discrete values, and never any energy in between those values. The energy of the electron is quantized. In general, if you measure an electron's energy you have a certain probability to get a result corresponding to the first energy level, a probability to find it in the second energy level, and so on. This is also the case for some other things you can measure, like angular momentum.

However, there are certain wave functions that correspond to exactly one value of energy; that is, if you have an electron with this wave function, you are guaranteed to get a certain energy value when you measure it. In fact, there is a special set of wave functions with the following three properties:
  • They each have a definite energy level.
  • They each have a definite total angular momentum around the nucleus.
  • They each have a definite angular momentum around the z axis.

These wave functions are the atomic orbitals that are so important in chemistry. If you calculate the shapes of the wave functions that satisfy these properties, you get the shapes shown on the Wikipedia page. They are listed in a table indexed by the variables n, l, and m. n corresponds to the energy level, l corresponds to the total angular momentum, and m corresponds to the angular momentum around the z axis. For example, you can see that orbitals with high m (angular momentum around the z axis), like the ones on the very right of the Wikipedia table, are sort of flattened out by the centrifugal force from spinning fast around a vertical axis.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (4, Insightful)

locofungus (179280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424207)

It's wrong to think of the electron as a particle when it's "orbiting" in an atom. Instead you should think of it as a probability density. This is Schroedinger's cat all over again, the electron is "smeared out" all over its "orbit" but instead of being "half dead, half alive" it's x% here, y% there.

This is also like the two slit experiment. The electron doesn't go through one slit or the other, it goes through both slits (not 50% dead and 50% alive; 50% went through that slit and 50% went through this slit) but when it hits the phosphor screen it's a particle as its "where is it" probability function collapses to a point.

The "wavefunction" is (as far as we can tell) a mathematical curiosity that when squared gives us the observed probability function. The probability distribution is real, the wavefunction gives us a convenient handle to calculate probabilities and how they evolve.

But now that I've said that the wavefunction is an imaginary curiosity, imagine a sine wave on a string and then join the two ends of the string together. There will only be a few discrete lengths of string where the sine wave will "join up" correctly (ok there's an infinite number but the length of the string is limited). It turns out that, with rather a lot of unpleasant maths (see the wikipedia page for spherical harmonics), our wavefunction works like that sine wave and we find that there are only certain orbitals where the wavefunction is well behaved.

Tim.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (3, Insightful)

master_p (608214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424397)

Could it be that we can't pinpoint the exact position and velocity of an electron at the same time because they are interlinked with all the surrounding particles? i.e. the act of measurement affects the outcome.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424563)

Yes, this is stated in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424485)

intersting, however, why does the probability wave collaps by the phosphor screen and not by the slits? because observation?

IIRC if you place measuring equipment by the slits you collapse the waveform there already (i.e. the electron goes through one slit or the other), this would destroy the interference pattern as well, no?

Re:Speaking as a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424039)

Speaking as a chemist: Why do we see two individual orbital images? Needs explanation to add validity. I don't see how they could isolate images of individual orbitals with this technique.

Even more rigorous (0, Offtopic)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424179)

Quantum mechanics as applied to electrons in atoms is the most successful and the most rigorously tested theory ever developed.

No way. Back in school, I theorised that throwing rocks at people's heads would hurt. For years, I used rigorous testing for sounds associated with pain to prove that correct.

Re:Even more rigorous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424503)

How much did it hurt you after you threw rocks on people ?

Can't sleep; mods will eat me (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424931)

I'm a bit disturbed that this post has been modded informative. Even if it was my post ;)

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

Velaki (968192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424327)

I think it's awesome. What would be better is if they can capture s-p (1, 2, and 3) hybridization, and use that to study reaction mechanisms. I would like to see a double-bond, even if it's a picture of the Flash, rather than just a conceptual probability cloud.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424341)

Speaking as a chemist, I hope you meant 2s.

Not quite a of an electron in an orbital (5, Informative)

Richard Kirk (535523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424405)

They do look like the classical orbitals, don't they?

However, there are some problems with interpreting the image as a photograph of an orbital. What the FEEM does is to charge up a very sharp point. The actual voltage may not be very big, but the local field strength depends on screening and curvature, so you can get very large electrostatic fields around sharp features, and if you get the balance right, electrons will leave the sharp points, zoom down the field lines, and get imaged. I remember seeing a sharp tungsten needle in a FEEM back in the seventies, and seeing the individual atoms. This sort of thing provided the first real evidence of a screw dislocation. You got a strange projection of the tip of the needle, as the electrostatic field tended to map the roughly spherical tip onto a flat plane.

So what is happening here? Our field stripping an electron from the orbital. We are getting a map of the electron flows as focused by the electrostatic field. We calculate the trajectory back through the electrostatic field and guess some sort of map of emission. They must have stripped hundreds or thousands of orbital electrons from the same atom, and replaced them to get each image. However, if an orbital 'pokes out' of the atom, or forms a 'sharp feature' (inverted commas because they are wave functions, so these concepts are a bit hard to define) then we get a bright spot. The really cool bit is getting the atom to go back to the same hybridization state hundreds of times, so we got the two-lobed picture.

It's dead clever. However, for my money, the atomic force probes are cooler as they can measure the fields without stripping the electrons. But, as the reviewer said, it takes all sorts...

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424557)

Actually, as the article says, you can make electron orbitals visible with AFM for atoms in a crystal or other structure. This is the first time orbitals of a single, lone atom have been resolved. Very cool stuff, this.

Re:Speaking as a chemist (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424747)

This is amazing. We'd theorised orbitals to exist, and they worked very well. We could calculate the shapes of molecules and make detailed predictions that came true to 10 decimal places. Quantum mechanics as applied to electrons in atoms is the most successful and the most rigorously tested theory ever developed.

And yet, to finally see a real orbital, not a simulation. Looks like a 1s and a 2p, right there for the looking!

I know. It's like with waves of electromagnetic force. We see the drawings of magnetic fields and assume those lines are for our benefit, that it doesn't really look that way. And then you stick a magnet under paper and sprinkle iron filings on it and sure enough, magnetic lines! It feels like cartoon physics made real. Gonna take me a magic marker and draw a little door on my office wall so I can open it up and go inside during lunch and catch zome z's.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423753)

In Soviet Russia, orbitals photograph YOU!!!!

Similar Pictures From Switzerland (3, Interesting)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423771)

"Leo Gross and his colleagues at IBM in Zurich, Switzerland, modified the AFM technique to make the most detailed image yet of pentacene, an organic molecule consisting of five benzene rings"

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17699-microscopes-zoom-in-on-molecules-at-last.html [newscientist.com]

 

Re:Similar Pictures From Switzerland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423791)

Yep [slashdot.org]

Re:Similar Pictures From Switzerland (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424005)

Your article is much more impressive, IMHO. All I see in the original story is three blue blobs. You could have told me it was false-colour cellular mitosis, and I'd have believed you. I understand that the detail in the story is much higher (imaging one atom instead of a whole molecule) but seeing hexagonal Benzene rings with my own eyes just excites me more.

Re:Similar Pictures From Switzerland (3, Informative)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424139)

It is anything but similar.
* That article was about taking picture of big but fragile molecules, even though atoms have been pictures before with ease.
* This article is about even detailed picture of atoms.

Re:Similar Pictures From Switzerland (2, Informative)

Schiphol (1168667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424225)

Hey, individual orbitals are several orders of magnitude smaller than pentacene molecules.

Why is this significant? (2, Interesting)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423793)

The ability to directly measure electron density is quite an old technique. STMs and AFMs have been doing this since the very beginning.. I agree with the researcher's quote in the article that it's good to develop a complementary technique(FEEM) abd at best that's its contribution. I'd be happy to hear what else it contributes. though I don't quite agree with his or the editors spelling! ;) "it's always good to have complimentary approaches,"

Re:Why is this significant? (3, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423887)

The ability to directly measure electron density is quite an old technique. STMs and AFMs have been doing this since the very beginning.. I agree with the researcher's quote in the article that it's good to develop a complementary technique(FEEM) abd at best that's its contribution. I'd be happy to hear what else it contributes. though I don't quite agree with his or the editors spelling! ;) "it's always good to have complimentary approaches,"

In this particular application, its simply a very cool thing to be able to prove theory with direct measurement. In the future I can imagine viewing electron orbitals for test samples of high temperature superconductors or producing high resolution images of the electron cloud density for a protein (get a better idea of the quantum component for protein folding) might prove extremely useful and interesting.

In my experience, no sooner does someone come up with a better device for viewing, then someone comes up with a exquisite need for that device.

Re:Why is this significant? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424003)

"STMs and AFMs have been doing this since the very beginning"

Niether of these directly measure electron density.
STMs measures electrical conductivity, AFM measures surface accessibility, and depends mainly on electrostatic and Van Der Waals forces.

This is the first technique to directly measure electron sensity

Picture of story from two weeks ago (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423843)

Here's a picture of a dupe [slashdot.org] , complete with comments.

Re:Picture of story from two weeks ago (2, Insightful)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424121)

Here's a picture of a dupe [slashdot.org] , complete with comments.

It's not a dupe -- that was a different story, as you would know if you had compared TFA from each story.

Unscaled photo link (5, Informative)

UPi (137083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423873)

The unscaled photo is here:

http://insidescience.org/polopoly_fs/1.918!image/671260397.jpg [insidescience.org]

Re:Unscaled photo link (5, Funny)

PGC (880972) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424117)

Unscaled, wow. That is one HUGE atom.... no wonder they were capable of photographing it.

Re:Unscaled photo link (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424345)

The second one is my ass on a photocopier. The first one is your mom's.

Re:Unscaled photo link (4, Funny)

miro f (944325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424365)

I have embedded the unscaled photos in this post.

Millions of them

Re:Unscaled photo link (3, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424347)

Not to pick nits, but is a picture that is the result of electrons striking a surface actually a photograph?

Re:Unscaled photo link (1)

plasm4 (533422) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424495)

isn't a photograph just the result of photons striking a surface (film)?

There are other ones (2, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423919)

There are other ones like this one [earthinpictures.com] or even the inside of one like here [alaporte.net]

Grok it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423961)

Now you can really grok what an atom looks like!

Wooo! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423965)

Particle porn! Could you shave off those electron clouds, now?

Re:Wooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423999)

Why do you think they are called Bare Ions?

Magnification (2, Interesting)

Butterspoon (892614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29423969)

On my monitor, the unzoomed images are about 3cm across. This corresponds to a magnification factor of around 100 million! Awesome!

This is much more impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29423995)

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17699-microscopes-zoom-in-on-molecules-at-last.html
because it is harder to have such a good picture of a molecule without destroying it ....

I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424045)

The article has a couple of images with a 'view full-size' link. I clicked the link and the images got larger. I thought atoms were itsy bitsy little geegaws.

I don't understand. (-1, Troll)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424067)

I don't see what's so impressive about photographing 1 atom at a time. I can photograph billions all at once with my $50 camera.

How would this look animated and slowed down? (1)

Gravedigger3 (888675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424103)

I have always imagined atoms as I saw them in textbooks, a nucleus with balls spinning around it so fast it would look like a sphere. Now the first image holds up to this and looks about what I expected a photograph of an atom to look like. But I don't quite understand the second image. If those two ovals represent a single atom then why does it appear to split?

It states in the article that the photo is of "two states' of the atom. Does the electron cloud just flow around the atom in such a way as to make it appear to be splitting in the second picture?

Re:How would this look animated and slowed down? (1)

The_Duck271 (1494641) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424197)

The "nucleus with balls spinning around it" is a significantly oversimplified statement of the true quantum weirdness that goes on in atoms.
See here [slashdot.org] and responses.

Re:How would this look animated and slowed down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424199)

The "shells" is a simplified model that is very practical to use to visualize energy states and how atoms release "energy packets" (photons)

The actual shape of the orbitals are explained here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_orbital#Orbitals_table

Re:How would this look animated and slowed down? (2, Informative)

mattr (78516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424407)

Electrons act like both particles and waves, following the laws of quantum mechanics. They are not really like moons traveling around planets in a neat circle.

I'm not a physicist but my understanding is that each element has a different number of electrons balancing the positive charge of the protons in the nucleus. These electrons form electron shells which are at different energy levels, and the shells are composed of a combination of atomic orbitals.

Quantum physics says that one cannot know where an electron is until you measure it. The three-dimensional geometric shape of an orbital indicates where the probability is highest that the electron will be found, but it could be just about anywhere. Some orbitals are spherical but others are very different shapes.

Here are some wikipedia links:

Atomic Orbitals [wikipedia.org]
Electron Configuration [wikipedia.org]
Electron Shells [wikipedia.org]

12 Carbon atoms in a row (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424119)

... so bigger that CmdrTaco's manhood.

Actually, it's an impressive achievement, especially in that it matched predictions of what it would look like.

Wow (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424183)

So this is what's powering my netbook!

Shopped... (0, Troll)

grahamlord86 (1603545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424313)

This looks shopped... I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time...

Non scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424323)

Could someone explain why the atom looks like a blob instead of the textbook planet and moon look alike(i.e. neutrons and protons and the planet and electron going around)?

Re:Non scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424457)

yes

Re:Non scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424473)

=P what?

Re:Non scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424635)

What the gp means is "read any of the 20 or so earlier comments that explain exactly that."

Comment from Ukraine (1)

buruonbrails (1247370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424357)

Knowing Ukrainian scientific facilities' state and extremely poor level of funding, I must admit that such an achievement is a miracle! You all should welcome our new Ukrainian atom photographing overlords.

blurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29424501)

Photo looks blurry... should have used a shorter exposure time.

Streamed volts (1)

jdh3.1415 (800944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424531)

FTA:

They placed a rigid chain of carbon atoms, just tens of atoms long, in a vacuum chamber and streamed 425 volts through the sample.

I'm used to reading stuff like this in the main stream press. However, I would expect an article from insidescience.org wouldn't use such a nonsensical phrase. It's kind of like saying they streamed 425 pounds per square inch of water through a pipe.

Re:Streamed volts (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424617)

FTA:

They placed a rigid chain of carbon atoms, just tens of atoms long, in a vacuum chamber and streamed 425 volts through the sample.

I'm used to reading stuff like this in the main stream press. However, I would expect an article from insidescience.org wouldn't use such a nonsensical phrase. It's kind of like saying they streamed 425 pounds per square inch of water through a pipe.

So the real breakthrough is that the research team was able to convert a fleet of GM's latest poster-child vehicle into data and transmit that information through a carbon sample!

I guess... (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424805)

...we now know what the Blue Man Group is composed of.

If you squint... (2, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29424909)

... you can see Bigfoot in the background!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>