Holy nanotech, Batman.
Researchers at IBM spent 20 hours using an atomic force microscope to image a molecule. This puppy has a “needle” that’s only a few atoms wide, and moves half a nanometer above the surface of its subject. For 20 hours. That is an amazing piece of technology.
Pentacene, or C22H14. It doesn’t look all that remarkable until you compare it to a ball-and-stick model of the same molecule, similar to what you might build in high school chemistry class:
In other words, these guys actually took a “photograph” of a single molecule at the atomic scale. And you can actually see the individual atoms and bonds.
Science is so cool.