"Researchers have developed the first imaging technique that can clearly see inside molecular structures, and have used it to create 3D holograms of the atomic arrangements inside these structures.
Before now, reliable imaging techniques (for example, scanning tunneling microscopy) could only scan the surfaces of molecules. The ability to peer deep inside a molecular structure and see all of the individual atoms will be essential for developing new materials and understanding their unique physical and chemical properties.
The researchers, Tobias Lühr et al., have published a paper on the new imaging technique in a recent issue of Nano Letters.
The new holographic imaging method significantly improves upon the previous methods: It almost completely eliminates image artifacts, has the ability to image thousands of atoms, and can also distinguish between different types of atoms.
The researchers demonstrated the technique by creating 3D holograms of pyrite (FeS2).
The holography method works by scattering electron waves off a molecule's atoms. Interference between the emitted and scattered electron waves creates diffraction patterns. This information is then used to reconstruct 3D holographic images showing the atoms' true locations."
Via Mariaschnee, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald