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Seeing the smallest atom

Graphene helps a team use a transmission electron microscope to image individual hydrogen atoms

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1:43pm, July 16, 2008

No room is left at the bottom. A team of physicists has shown how a common type of electron microscope can spot single hydrogen atoms — the smallest atoms of them all.

Previously, electron microscopes had trouble imaging single atoms lighter than carbon.

The University of California, Berkeley team visualized defects and impurities — including atoms of hydrogen— on graphene, the one-atom-thick, chicken-wire nets of carbon that normally stack up to form graphite. “Think of it sort of as a spider web,” says study coauth

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