Monday, August 31, 2009

Itty Bitty

Last week scientists at IBM Zurich took the highest-resolution image ever of an individual molecule using an atomic-force microscope, the hydrocarbon known as pentacene. This is part of an ongoing effort to someday build computing elements at an atomic scale, which would greatly reduce power consumption and fabrication costs. This is the first time they've been able to see through the electron cloud surrounding the molecule to look at its individual atoms.

Pentacene is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms. The image below is of five of its carbon atoms. They say the position of the hydrogen atoms can be discerned from this image...I'll take their word for it. It measures 1.4 nanometers in length. Teeny.

Kind of pretty, isn't it?

IBM Research-Zurich


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