Scientists Take First Picture of a Single Atom

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GeoMan

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[citation][nom]phatboe[/nom]Title is very misleading, scientist have been able to take pictures of single atoms for quite a while now[/citation]
We've been able to resolve single atoms on a surface of atoms, that is probably what you were thinking about. This research is effectively imaging the shadow of a single free atom, that’s the difference here. Whether this counts as taking a picture or is the first time it's been done I'm not sure.
 

stingstang

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"Because we are able to predict how dark a single atom should be, as in how much light it should absorb in forming a shadow, we can measure if the microscope is achieving the maximum contrast allowed by physics."
Holy nerdgasm!
 

ceteras

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[citation][nom]anony2004[/nom]I thought we had already pictured the atom...[/citation]
The difference here is that they can take pictures without damaging the subjects, and at least for DNA this is crucial.
I say that this time they've done an awesome job, not just science for the sake of it.
 
G

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It's an image of a shadow or an absorption patter, not an image of the thing (as "seen" from reflected/backscattered light). Also, it's not a free atom (the confining forces surely alter the electronic states), but it is isolated and not part of a cluster, or on a surface.

I'll have to read the paper, but an interesting question is what atomic features can be seen in the shadow. Keep in mind that this method won't resolve the nucleus, but probes features of the outer, much larger electronic bits.
 

killerclick

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IBM took a picture of a molecule a few years back, looks exactly like the plastic models we had at school. I didn't think it's possible to represent an atom with a picture due to the nature of the electron cloud, its size related to the size of the nucleus, etc, but clever scientists pulled it off. Awesome.
 

leo2kp

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I'm no physicist, but doesn't it have to have mass to be able to reflect a photon? Also, doesn't it have to be bigger than a photon to take a picture of it? Not sure if the Higgs boson can be captured in a picture :(
 

phatboe

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[citation][nom]phatboe[/nom]Title is very misleading, scientist have been able to take pictures of single atoms for quite a while now[/citation]
[citation][nom]GeoMan[/nom]We've been able to resolve single atoms on a surface of atoms, that is probably what you were thinking about. This research is effectively imaging the shadow of a single free atom, that’s the difference here. Whether this counts as taking a picture or is the first time it's been done I'm not sure.[/citation]
So, like I said in my original post, the title is misleading...
 

vertigo_2000

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[citation][nom]stevenrix[/nom]Okay cool but ... where is the picture?[/citation]
The part in the circular end of the picture is the actual picture... the other graphics are to show the directionality of the "light" used to cause the shadow that they took a picture of.
 

back_by_demand

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[citation][nom]bin1127[/nom]so I guess the uncertainty principle doesn't apply to atoms now.[/citation]
That's electrons, not atoms
[citation][nom]leo2kp[/nom]I'm no physicist, but doesn't it have to have mass to be able to reflect a photon? Also, doesn't it have to be bigger than a photon to take a picture of it? Not sure if the Higgs boson can be captured in a picture[/citation]
If you have to explain a joke it just aint funny anymore...
 
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