Single simple molecule pictured for first time

No longer just the province of stick-style representation, the chemical bonds of a single molecule, about a million times smaller than a grain of sand, have been imaged for the first time. Ethan Siegel, Starts with a Bang!, explains the technique:molecule.jpg

There's a special type of microscope known as an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Basically, you make a tiny, sharp, atomic needle that you move over the top of a molecule. When you approach different atoms in a molecule, the electric forces either attract or repel the needle. As the needle moves up and down, the handle that it's attached to feels forces and torque. So, all you have to do is measure these tiny changes in force and torque, and you can image the molecule beneath it.

It will undoubtedly be a while until the technology and required expertise makes its way into the curriculum, but I'm thinking high school science chemistry diagrams in the future will be a lot more interesting.