Apr 2, 2009

First Ever Video of The Dynamics of Carbon Atoms!

While humans have been able to use transmission and scanning tunneling microscopes to capture images of atoms, never have we managed to create a film of these atoms moving and re-arranging themselves. That is, until now.

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), working with TEAM 0.5, the world’s most powerful transmission electron microscope, have made a movie that shows in real-time carbon atoms repositioning themselves around the edge of a hole that was punched into a graphene sheet. Viewers can observe how chemical bonds break and form as the suddenly volatile atoms are driven to find a stable configuration. This is the first ever live recording of the dynamics of carbon atoms in graphene. ( Science Daily )

The video above is not a simulation, but actual atoms re-arranging themselves to a more stable state, in order to counter-act the instability of the hole in the graphene. Graphene is a one-atom-thick planar sheet of sp2-bonded carbon atoms that are densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice. This image below is a 3-dimensional, false-color rendering of the hole in the graphene. (click to enlarge)

This is the bad-ass that led the team. His name is Alex Zettl.

His previous accomplishments included the first fully functional radio from a single carbon nanotube, and a nanoscale mass sensor that can weigh individual atoms. ( Berkley Lab )

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