In this image a thin layer of carbon atoms forms a lattice. (You can see the blue-green bumps interlocked in a tidy hexagonal pattern.) The center of this lattice is disrupted by the presence of a crystal defect; this influences the electrons of the central carbon atoms and alters the hexagonal configuration. Like a pebble dropped in a still pond, a small change in the middle ripples out, distorting the pattern all around it.
This image is more like a contour or elevation map than a photograph. It was made with a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). Instead of using lenses like a camera, an STM uses a very fine needle to trace just above the surface of microscopic structures. Here, the surface height is color-coded: the white bumps are the tallest areas and the black depressions are lowest.
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Tools & Techniques: Scanning Tunneling Microscope + colored in Photoshop