Have you ever wondered how molecules behave during a chemical reaction? Back in high school, most of the information we get in Chemistry class comes from book illustrations and creative animations. We never had a chance to actually see and verify whether what our teachers have been teaching back then are 100% true or not. Until now.
A team of scientists at the University of California in Berkeley just recently had a breakthrough in science and engineering. Using an atomic force microscope, the scientists were able to capture the first ever high-resolution images of a molecule breaking and reforming its bonds.
Actually, the team was originally trying to create graphene nanostructures using a new, controlled approach to chemical reactions. However, their findings went a different direction, for the better. Felix Fischer, one of the scientists involved in the team, shares their luck:
“We weren’t thinking about making beautiful images; the reactions themselves were the goal.Nobody has ever taken direct, single-bond-resolved images of individual molecules, right before and immediately after a complex organic reaction.”
Prior to the discovery, all researchers could do was guess at what the bonding process looked like. The new images, according to the team, will aid nanostructure research and maybe even lead to a new method of nanoscale electronic architecture.