- Published on August 1, 2009
- Written by Louis Rossetto
For the first time ever, according to this report, scientists from IBM Research Zurich have used an atomic force microscope to image all the atoms in a single molecule.
The molecule is pentacene, used in solar cells, and is made up of 22 carbon and 14 hydrogen atoms. This is how it used to be imagined in the good old days:
This, by the way, is the structure of theobromine, one of the active ingredients in chocolate:
And this is the structure of a substance that theobromine is often confused with, caffeine:
You’ll note that the structures are almost identical, except that, at the top left, theobromine lacks one carbon and two hydrogen atoms.
You might say that theobromine is not just the food but the designer drug of the gods, since by removing those carbon and hydrogen atoms, theobromine becomes a muscle relaxant (perhaps why it is good for the heart) as well as a brain stimulant instead of a central nervous system stimulant like caffeine.
Can’t wait to see it under the atomic force microscope.