Feeds

IBM carbon probe views electron movement in molecule

Scanning technique vital for molecular computing

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

IBM researchers in Switzerland have seen the movement of charge within a molecule for the first time, using a microscope tipped with a single carbon atom.

The team adapted an existing form of atomic force microscopy called Kelvin probe force microscopy, by using a microscopic scanning bar that measures the electric field generated by a charge in a molecule. The probe has to operate at near absolute zero and in a total vacuum, but successfully traced a charge across the subject.

Kelvin microsoft scans molecular charge

Voltage variations in scanning tip measure molecular charge

"This technique provides another channel of information that will further our understanding of nanoscale physics. It will now be possible to investigate at the single-molecule level how charge is redistributed when individual chemical bonds are formed between atoms and molecules on surfaces," said Fabian Mohn of the physics of IBM Research's nanoscale systems group in a statement. "This is essential as we seek to build atomic and molecular scale devices."

Under examination was a two-nanometer molecule called Naphthalocyanine, an X shaped structure formed in part by two hydrogen atoms which swap places when a charge is applied. IBM is working on the material as part of its research into building molecular-level computing and storage devices by using the molecule's two states to store data. Details have now been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Charge image of molecule

Flipping Naphthalocyanine

"This work demonstrates an important new capability of being able to directly measure how charge arranges itself within an individual molecule," states Michael Crommie, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "Understanding this kind of charge distribution is critical for understanding how molecules work in different environments. I expect this technique to have an especially important future impact on the many areas where physics, chemistry, and biology intersect." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.