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Scientists capture images of molecules forming atomic bonds

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 31, 2013
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For most of us, molecular bonding only really exists as a classroom concept. Some scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can now claim more tangible knowledge, however: they're the first to have taken truly clear snapshots of bonding in progress. While trying to create graphene nanostructures and observe them with an atomic force microscope, a lab team spotted molecules forming their individual, atom-level links during a chemical reaction. The resulting shots were nearly textbook material, too -- as the molecules were neatly placed on a flat surface, the researchers identified the order and nature of each bond. While the images will only be immediately useful for the nanostructure research at hand, they may add a welcome dash of reality to future chemistry lessons.

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