Saturday, July 26, 2008

Microscopy breakthrough

Some of us spend time in our A&P course reminding our students of the chemistry that they should already know before they came to our course, right?

One of the big issues for students is being able to visualize all those tiny bits that we professors seem to be so taken with . . . molecules, ions, atoms, and so on. Of course the easiest way to visualize something is to show them a picture, eh?

Until recently, the best we could do in showing "real" pictures of atoms was a few large atoms shown in a group, as if they were eggs lined up in a carton. Now, in the July 17th issue of Nature, scientists say they have created superthin, one-atom-thick membranes made of graphene (a form of graphite) in which individual carbon and hydrogen atoms can be imaged.

Go to the World Science article at to learn more and to find a drawing of graphene and a photo of carbon and hydrogen atoms that you can share with your students.

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