Imaging of Single Organic Molecules in Motion

Science  11 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5826, pp. 853
DOI: 10.1126/science.1138690

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High-resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed nearly atomically precise images of stepping conformational change and translational motion of single hydrocarbon molecules confined in carbon nanotubes. One or two C12 or C22 alkyl chains were tethered to a carborane end group and then embedded in the nanotubes. Images of the hydrocarbon chains interacting with each other and with a graphitic surface provide information on three-dimensional structures and dynamic molecular interactions that cannot be obtained by other analytical methods.

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