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Speaking of Precision

Speaking of Precision is a knowledge preservation and thought leadership blog covering the precision machining industry, its materials and services. With over 36 years of hands on experience in steelmaking, manufacturing, quality, and management, Miles Free (Milo) Director of Industry Research and Technology at PMPA helps answer "How?" "With what?" and occasionally "Really?"

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What Does a Molecule Look Like?

Posted July 30, 2010 12:01 AM by Milo

As machinists, we are used to handling materials in the bulk world.

As machinists, our ease in obtaining productivity is influenced by the microscopic world of phases, microstructures, and chemistry.

Underneath this microscopic world lies the world of molecules and atoms themselves.

This is the chemical formula for pentacene. It is used in organic thin film transistors.

Recently researchers from IBM research team in Zurich used an atomic force microscope to capture an image of a single molecule of this substance.

Compare to the structure above.

This image of a single molecule shows the five rings of six carbon atoms and suggests the hydrogen bonds along the edges.

The precision needed to resolve at this atomic level requires both extremely high vacuum and frighteningly cryogenic temperatures. And you thought you had temperature control issues in your metrology lab.

Our industry will not be at this atomic-level nanoscale any time soon, at least not for our production processes.

We hope this glimpse of what makes up our material world from the frontiers of science gives you a better appreciation for the work of all the chemists, metallurgists and engineers in the supply chain that produce our raw materials, tools, and metalworking fluids. For all of history, scientists have struggled to make sense of their observations, develop theory, structure and formulas that made sense. This IBM image confirms that we're on the right track.

Full story care of BBC .

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which was originally posted here.

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#1

Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

07/30/2010 5:37 AM

That's just a piccy of a catterpiggle
Del

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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

07/30/2010 9:06 AM

Friedrich Kekule would have swelled with pride if he could have seen this photograph. Five of his little ducks in a row.

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#3

Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/02/2010 4:40 AM

When I left school I wanted to be a scientist with the aim of splitting the atom, and after a while I thought oh' to hell with it, it's small enough already! I'll be an Engineer instead and make stuff.

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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/02/2010 5:20 AM

Ah, more Brit humour, that's what we need
Pull up a bollard and make yourself at home.
Del

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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/02/2010 6:31 AM

Greetings Del.

I know what a mole looks like but I'm not sure what a `cule` looks like can you help?

merlin-100

p.s. should we be taking this more seriously?

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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/02/2010 7:12 AM

p.s. should we be taking this more seriously?
Nah

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#7
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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/02/2010 2:18 PM

Hello merlin-100. Nice to meet you.

CR4 member sue has a small 'mole' issue. See here and here.

Whilst serious discussion is the backbone of this arena, it helps to not take yourself (or others, for that matter) too seriously.

In addition, GA for energyconversion. Excellent comment.

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#11
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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/09/2010 11:24 AM

Hi Doorman, likewise nice to meet you,

Dont want to be `mole-ist` but they are the ugliest things I've ever seen. It's a good job they're blind, otherwise they would have died off ages ago.

Still I'm sure in their minds eye they all look beautiful to each other.

merlin-100

p.s. Sue should see a good Plastic Surgeon and get those removed.!!

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#12
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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/09/2010 11:45 AM

"It's a good job they're blind, otherwise they would have died off ages ago."

I assume you say mole procreation would have ceased, due to the reluctance of each gender to accept such a horrid creature as a mate. I agree! You are right, beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Regarding your final comment:

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#13
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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/10/2010 9:03 AM

"procreation would have ceased"

Yes, but you put it much betterer than wot I does!

Very eloquently said Sir. Is'nt it a good job our fellow cr4'ers are so tolerant of our off topic ramblings.

As my teachers used to say "try and concentrate and you must try harder".

merlin

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#8

Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/04/2010 10:51 PM

Milo,

What would the actual and theoretical limit be for a cutting edge?

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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/05/2010 3:05 PM

Please disregard my original vague question (It was my bedtime).

I found the answer with a Google search "Sharpest possible cutting edge" and ended up on a Wiki article about Damascus steel blades from the 17th century that were found to have nanotubes in their structure. These blades cut at a molecular level.

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Re: What Does a Molecule Look Like?

08/09/2010 10:08 AM

Hey, that was a great question and a great answer. I would have probably got to damascus steels after some digging, but your nanotube comment fits with all the folding during hot work. I like toi say that steel is the original nano- material, since its martensite quenched structure features is at the nano level.

I am glad to see the side discussions that result from these blog entries. Thanks everybody.

Milo

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Del the cat (3); Doorman (2); energyconversion (1); merlin-100 (4); Milo (1); Unredundant (2)

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