What the microscope did to unlock the secrets of biology, the “chemiscope” is intended to do, to revolutionize chemistry. The ultimate goal is to observe chemistry in the act, to see the making and breaking of bonds in real-space and real-time.
The challenge is great. To see individual atoms, spatial resolution must be improved by a factor of 10,000 over the best optical microscope. To see molecules in motion, the images must be recorded at a frame rate of a thousand million million per second (a frame / femtosecond). The two capabilities must be combined to reach joint space-time resolution at Å-fs limit, to record moving pictures of elementary steps in chemistry.
The ability to see the world of molecules, atoms and bonds, in real space-time, would completely shift the paradigm in chemical inquiry.
[ Read the Article: New Instrument Could Observe Chemical Reactions As They Happen ]