Washington: Scientists have recorded the first ever image of a molecule`s "anatomy" with unprecedented clarity, using a complex technique known as non-contact atomic force microscopy.
The results could greatly impact the field of nanotechnology, which seeks to understand and control some of the tiniest known objects.
"If you think about how a doctor uses an X-ray to image bones and organs inside the human body, we are using the atomic force microscope (AFM) to image the atomic structures that are the backbones of individual molecules," said IBM researcher Gerhard Meyer.
"Scanning probe techniques offer amazing potential for prototyping complex functional structures and for tailoring and studying their electronic and chemical properties on the atomic scale," he added.
The team`s current study follows on the heels of another experiment published in the June 12 issue of Science, where IBM scientists measured the charged states of atoms using an AFM.
These breakthroughs will open new possibilities for investigating how charge transmits through molecules or molecular networks.
Understanding the charge distribution at the atomic scale is essential for building smaller, faster and more energy-efficient computing components than today`s processors and memory devices, said an IBM release.
These findings were reported in the Friday issue of Science.
First Published: Saturday, August 29, 2009, 21:34