Thursday, May 30, 2013
Before and After at the Nanoscale
On this picture (a sideways triptych?), the bottom panel is how we draw the atomic model for a covalent-bond-forming reaction in organic chemistry class. The triple bonds, shown as extra lines on the left, can react with each other and share electrons to form the multicycle molecule on the right. The top two panels are actual pictures of the molecules, shown before and after heating it up. Looks like our models are pretty good representations of reality, no? Read more here.
Before I took chemistry classes I thought that pictures like this would be easy to take. After all, those models are easy to draw. But it's very hard to see on the atomic scale -- atoms are so small that (in a sense) light waves shine right around them. It's nice to see that technology is catching up to my "when I was a child I thought as a child" perceptions. It's kind of pretty too.