With a high enough resolution, would it be possible to take an image of something, zoom in, and then observe individual atoms?


With a high enough resolution, would it be possible to take an image of something, zoom in, and then observe individual atoms?

In: 5

Yes, but you would need to use an Electron Microscope to get that sort of resolution.

[the highest-resolution image of atoms ever taken. To create it, Cornell University researchers captured a sample from a crystal in three dimensions and magnified it 100 million times](https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/see-the-highest-resolution-atomic-image-ever-captured/)

Images showing individual atoms is indeed possible, but it takes _highly specialised_ equipment and still only gets a handful of atoms.

The number of atoms in even the smallest speck of dust is enormous – a scale difficult to comprehend, and current image capture technologies are nowhere near the level of seeing atoms, nor is there any expectation they be able to progress to those levels.

It sort of challenges our definition of what “observing” in the sense of looking at a picture means. As others have pointed out, we can make an image of atoms using electron microscopes. An electron microscope uses electrons to detect where atomic-scale things are and where they aren’t. We can do this because electrons are both very small, and detectable using equipment. But things like atoms are smaller already than the wavelengths of light that we can see. So the picture we can make with an electron microscope isn’t what atoms look like, because “looking like” anything is a property of how we can see light reflected from objects with our eyes, which we can’t do with things that are smaller than those wavelengths of light. Rather, it’s more that the picture is a map of where we can detect things on a very small scale. It’s like the difference between a camera looking at a plane, and a plane on a Radar screen. Both show you where the plane is and where it isn’t, where it stops and starts, but one is more accurately called “a picture of a plane” and the other is more like detecting the plane.

Yes and No.

No, because light travels as a wave (sinus). If an item is small enough (500 nanometers) the wave is bigger then the object and doesn’t hit the object anymore. So you cant see it because it doesn’t interact with the light anymore.

Yes, because electrons have a really small wave which causes them to collide with atoms.

TLDR: It is plausible but not with visible light.

Not really.

You can see anything that is smaller than half the wavelength of the light you are seeing with.

The color of light that humans can see are in the range of 380 to 700 nanometers.

This is far bigger than most individual atoms molecules or such large things as even small viruses.

Different types of light or things like electrons are needed to see smaller things.