Xenon reacts with ice!

OK, xenon won’t be react­ing with the ice in your freezer. But appar­ently, if you ramp up the tem­per­at­ure and pres­sure enough, then it reacts to form a crys­tal­line com­pound with unit cell con­tain­ing Xe4O12H12Suit­able con­di­tions for this occur inside plan­ets like Uranus and Neptune.

More here

One atom casts a shadow

Seems unlikely that you could record the shadow of just one atom — but you can, appar­ently, if you use the right fre­quency of light. Get it wrong by one part in a bil­lion, though, and the shadow van­ishes. This isn’t just a curi­os­ity — this sort of study should help determ­ine the optimum con­di­tions for micro­scopy, so you can use as much light as pos­sible to observe cel­lu­lar pro­cesses without des­troy­ing the cell. Read more here.

Amaz­ing bond images

Here are some great images that have been produced using atomic force microscopy (AFM). They are detailed images that actually show bonds, and you can see the small variations in bond length. Amazing! Read more…