Atoms in a Crystal...

This is an image of silicon atoms arranged on a face of a crystal. It is impossible to "see" atoms this way using ordinary light. The image was made by a Scanning Tunneling Microscope, a device that "feels" the cloud of electrons that form the outer surface of atoms, rather as a phonograph needle feels the grooves in a record.
Atoms in a Crystal ...
It had long been suspected that crystals are made of atoms lined up in neat arrays. But at the start of the 20th century there was no way to actually see them. Some scientists thought the "atom" in physics theories might be merely a sort of abstract device useful for computations. Einstein's paper gave one of the first convincing proofs that atoms do exist as real objects.

You can EXIT to description of the scanning technique
from the group at Lund University that made the image.

Courtesy Synkrotronljus research group, Lund University.
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