A team of international researchers from the IBM in Zurich has published the first detailed single-molecule images of atomic bonds in fullerene.
According to the report published in Science, the new study has examined fullerene, which has linked rings of carbon atoms at its core, using an atomic force microscopy or AFM.
Their images show the length of the atomic bonds. The bright and dark spots on the images correspond to the higher and lower density of electrons in the particle.
“The individual bonds between carbon atoms in such molecules differ subtly in their length and strength,” explained lead author Leo Gross.
“All the important chemical, electronic, and optical properties of such molecules are related to the differences of bonds in the polyaromatic systems,” he added.
“Now, for the first time, these differences were detected for both individual molecules and bonds. This can increase basic understanding at the level of individual molecules, important for research on novel electronic devices, organic solar cells, and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).”
The IBM team is planning to use the same method to examine graphene, one-atom-thick sheets of pure carbon and explore the use of different molecules for their “record needle.”
The same team presented the world’s first single-molecule image in 2009 and published images of a molecule shaped like the Olympic rings recently.
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