This story is a scientific first: as researchers in Switzerland, France and Spain, working under European projects ARTIST, HERODOT and CEMAS, have succeeded in taking a “picture” of the individual bonds between carbon atoms.
Of course it’s not just about taking nice pictures. These images can “see” changes in distance of less than one hundredth of the diameter of an atom, and that can give us a huge leap forward in understanding what’s going on inside molecules.
That sounds pretty amazing in itself: but indeed it could hold the key to the future of computing, through the emerging science of molecular electronics. Currently, most electronics relies on silicon technology; but some years ago, another EU project showed a single molecule could replace large numbers of transistors, and effectively carry out a complex computation. This new discovery takes us much further in learning how to integrate these molecules into computer systems.
So well done to all those involved in this discovery!