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Atomic bond types discernible in single-molecule images

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A pioneering team from IBM in Zurich has published single-molecule images so detailed that the type of atomic bonds between their atoms can be discerned... The images show just how long the atomic bonds are, and the bright and dark spots correspond to higher and lower densities of electrons. Together, this information reveals just what kind of bonds they are - how many electrons pairs of atoms share - and what is going on chemically within the molecules... 'Now we can really prove that... we can see different physical properties of different bonds, and that's really exciting.' The team will use the method to examine graphene, one-atom-thick sheets of pure carbon that hold much promise in electronics... The team will also explore the use of different molecules for their 'record needle', with the hope of yielding even more insight into the molecular world.

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