Chinese Scientists Capture First Image of Hydrogen Bonds

Chinese scientists have visualized hydrogen bonds through modified non-contact atomic force microscopy (AFM) for the first time in history.

Hydrogen bonds are fundamental to the most important molecules in nature. They are responsible for holding the two strands of DNA's double helix together and many enzymes use them to catalyze reactions. 

Although study of hydrogen bonds began in the 1850's, scientists had not been able to visualize them until now. 

A group of scientists with the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) has modified equipment for five years to create the top non-contact AFM in the field, which has allowed scientists to accurately analyze the structure of hydrogen bonds and directly measure the bond angle and length. 

The discovery has broad application prospects in the study of intermolecular interactions. Accurate measurement of hydrogen bonds not only helps in understanding the bonds' interactions, but also has great significance in materials science and pharmaceutical development.

Results of the study were published in Science on September, 26, 2013.

The prestigious U.S.-based Science magazine published the research results in essay form on Nov. 1.
Copyright © 2002 - Chinese Academy of Sciences