DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Benzaldehyde odour molecule. Three graphics of a molecule of benzaldehyde, a molecule which is used to make perfumes because it smells of bitter almonds. This image shows how the "shape" of a molecule depends on a complex mixture of attract- ive & repulsive forces between it & its surround- ings. With the Van der Waals force, the molecule's atoms appear as spheres which are colour-coded: carbon is grey, oxygen is red & hydrogen is white. The distribution of electrostatic charge is not evenly distributed in the molecule: red areas are positive & blue areas are negative. The molecule's electron density is also not uniform, with the highest density occurring around the oxygen atom.
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