Seeing the Reaction

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Science  21 Jun 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6139, pp. 1417-1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.1239961

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What happens as a molecule goes through a chemical reaction? Model studies have provided important insights into these processes, but it remains extremely difficult to follow all the atomic rearrangements of a chemical reaction experimentally. In many cases, a reaction cannot be observed directly in real space, for example, because the reactants are in the gas state, zooming around at the speed of sound. On page 1434 of this issue, de Oteyza et al. (1) report atomically resolved imaging of a complex molecule as it undergoes a chemical reaction on a metal surface.