Using a new state-of-the-art atomic force microscope, scientists at UC Berkeley were able to capture the first images of a molecule just before and after it reacts. The images show the molecule's structure in detail, even the bonds connecting atoms. Until now, scientists have only been able to infer this type of information.
The series of images on the left side (labeled A) show the molecule before, while the images on the right (labeled B) display the after.
Non-contact atomic force microscope (nc-AFM) images (center) of a molecule before and after a reaction improve immensely over images (top) from a scanning tunneling microscope and look just like the classic molecular structure diagrams (bottom). Source: UC Berkeley News Center.