• Question: Why cant we see atoms?

    Asked by anon-267539 on 25 Nov 2020.
    • Photo: Juan Pereiro Viterbo

      Juan Pereiro Viterbo answered on 25 Nov 2020:

      We actually can. There are microscopes that are able to see atoms, and even manipulate them. There are famous pictures of a quantum corral (you can google it) or a movie “A boy and his atom” (you can google it too) that used a microscopy technique called “Scanning Tunneling Microscopy” to manipulate atoms and observe them.
      Other microscopes such as Transmission Electron Microscope use electrons to observe materials and they also can see atoms.

    • Photo: Katherine Manfred

      Katherine Manfred answered on 25 Nov 2020:

      They’re really, really, super small! They’re about a million times smaller than the diameter of a single hair on your head. Our eyes can’t see things on such a small scale. We need special tools that Juan mentioned – which are really expensive and quite big! – to be able to take pictures of them.