Molecular collisions

Molecular collisions

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This image is part of the feature Atomic Art

Credit: ERIC HELLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Molecular collisions. Computer model of molecules colliding in a 2-dimensional area. The coloured tracks show the successive positions of the atoms in each molecule. When one track overlaps another, this shows that the overlapping atom passed that point after the overlapped atom created its track. This records the relative timings of the motions, as well as the changing vibrations and rotations of the molecules. There are 4 diatomic molecules, 1 four-atom molecule (two green atoms, one red and one light blue), and 1 atom (dark blue). The most complicated collision is at lower centre. This model was created as an artwork by Professor Eric Heller.

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