Scientists at the Center for Soft and Living Matter, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), visualized the movement of a long chain of atoms (polymer), contained inside a pocket made of graphene. For the first time, molecules can be seen moving under the transmission electron microscope without the need to fix them in place or stain them. While the microscope captures the images in black and white (left), it is possible to add colors (right) to guide viewers' eyes to the molecule's movement. The scientists had an average of 100 seconds to admire the dynamic movement of individual polymers, before these were destroyed by the electron beam. During these valuable seconds, molecules change position, rearrange and 'jump around.' The experiment was performed at room temperature under high vacuum.
(K. Hima Nagamanasa, Huan Wang, and Steve Granick. Liquid-Cell Electron Microscopy of Adsorbed Polymers. Advanced Materials (2017) Copyright Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Reproduced with permission.)