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Visualizing Chemistry

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A picture’s worth a thousand words--and a thousand data points too. Nothing conveys information to the human eye like a picture. We’re all accustomed to photographs, which are optical images stored either on plastic film or digitally, but what about things that can’t be seen with the naked eye? For example,  X-rays don’t really “see” your bones, but rather they interact with your bones in such a way that  produces an image, in this case, a kind of density map of your bones.  Methods of creating a “chemical  image” are now so sophisticated that we can track the individual location of atoms or molecules in a given sample--such as a chemical mixture, a cell, or
a silicon chip--and even how the atoms are moving and interacting within in the sample. As shown on this poster, chemical imaging is being used at the cutting edge of science and technology in many applications that improve our daily lives.