Photos © Michael Davidson and The Florida State University

These photos show the 60-carbon alkene buckminsterfullerene ("buckyballs"). This substance joins graphite and diamond as a third form of carbon molecule.
Technology sometimes derives from clever combinations of tools. Merging immune system cells with cancer cells led to the hybridoma technology that produces monoclonal antibodies. A recipe of restriction enzymes, plasmids, and DNA underlies recombinant DNA and transgenic technologies. And more recently, DNA microarray technology took a cue from microelectronics. Now, the application of carbon nanotubes to atomic force microscopy (AFM) is sharpening scientists' views of the molecules of life.

AFM coupled to carbon nanotube technology "permits a real-time, high resolution look at proteins in physiologically relevant surroundings," said Stan Wong, assistant scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. He presented his work on Dec. 14, 2000 at "New Frontiers in Imaging Technology and Bioscience: A Briefing for Medical...

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