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First-ever high-resolution images of a molecule as it breaks and reforms chemical bonds

 "We weren't thinking about making beautiful images; the reactions themselves were the goal," says Fischer, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab's Division (MSD) and a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. "But to really see what was happening at the single-atom level we had to use a uniquely sensitive in Michael Crommie's laboratory." Crommie is an MSD scientist and a professor of physics at UC Berkeley.

What the microscope showed the researchers, says Fischer, "was amazing." The specific outcomes of the reaction were themselves unexpected, but the visual evidence was even more so. "Nobody has ever taken direct, single-bond-resolved images of individual molecules, right before and immediately after a complex organic reaction," Fischer says.

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