DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Odour molecule vibration. Abstract computer art- work of vibrating molecular bonds. Bond vibration is the main factor which determines how a molecule smells. The bonds are shown on a keyboard, & their constituent atoms are colour-coded: carbon (C) is dark blue, oxygen (O) is red, nitrogen (N) is light blue, sulphur (S) is yellow and hydrogen (H) is white. The numbers beneath each bond correspond to its vibrational wavenumber - the number of wavelengths of infrared light at that energy which would fit in a centimetre. The S-H bond is high- lighted because very little else vibrates in the 23-2700 wavenumber region, giving molecules which contain the bond a distinctive sulphuraceous smell.
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