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  • Have you ever seen an atom?


  • Seeing as everything is made of them, you have.


  • But have you ever seen one on its own?


  • Over time, microscopes have become more and more powerful, allowing us to see deeper into the world of the ultra-small.


  • Traditional light microscopes can be used to see things like these onion cells and the structures within them as they divide, pulling apart their chromosomes.


  • But scientists have come up with a whole host of clever methods to observe far smaller things.


  • Using beams of electrons instead of light, we can generate detailed images of chromosomes themselves.


  • Recently, groups of scientists around the world are becoming able to see materials at the most fundamental scale: the atomic.


  • One group from the University of California in Los Angeles have been getting up close and personal with nanoparticles of platinum, just a few nanometers across.


  • Each of the tiny dots you can see here are actually individual platinum atoms.


  • But researchers didn't stop at a two-dimensional picture.


  • By imaging over 100 slices of the nanoparticle at different angles then removing the noise with a special filter, they were able to map the location of almost every atom.

    藉由從不同角度拍下一超過 100 張該奈米分子的圖像,接著以特殊的濾鏡來消除雜訊後,他們幾乎可以繪製出每一顆原子的位置。

  • The information was used to create a three-dimensional reconstruction of the whole particle in unprecedented detail.

    這個資訊之後被用來創造出該分子一個細節完整的 3D 重構模型。

  • It may look blurry, but this particle is estimated to contain over 27,000 atoms and so, like flies in a swarm, they appear to merge together.

    這個圖像看起來或許有些模糊,但這個分子估計含有超過 27,000 顆原子,就像一群在空中飛舞的蒼蠅一樣會時不時交會在一起。

  • Every so often, though, we see the platinum's atomic structure align, granting us a moment of clarity.


  • This technique is being used to analyse tiny irregularities in the structure of the particle called dislocations.


  • Dislocations are subtle, like the misalignment of the green and red layers of atoms in this particle.


  • But nonetheless, they can significantly change the properties of materials, with effects ranging from a change in the efficiency of LEDs to the strength of metal alloys.

    然而它們會顯著地改變物質的特性,影響範圍從改變 LED 的效率到降低金屬合金的強度都有可能。

  • Three-dimensional atomic-scale imaging like this is bettering our understanding of the structure of materials on this truly fundamental scale.

    像是這樣的 3D 原子等級的圖像,能夠讓我們更加了解物質在其真正基礎規模下的結構。

Have you ever seen an atom?


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B1 中級 中文 美國腔 原子 圖像 次元 分子 奈米 結構

奈米大小的原子,你有看過它長什麼樣子嗎?(Have you ever seen an atom?)

  • 1997 74
    Jeff Chiao 發佈於 2021 年 12 月 19 日