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If object made of atoms and atoms are invisible then when we look at an object or touch an object what we see or feel?

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  • $\begingroup$ You feel the forces raised by the electromagnetic field (charges, currents) that are involved in everything atomic. Feeling "matter" is your atoms of your fingers (for example) responding to the fields that interact with the atoms of the "matter" you are touching (ignoring bigger aspects of physiology). $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Jan 2 '16 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ That's a very complicated question. When you look at metals, for instance, what you "see" are quasiparticle states of free electrons and the metal lattice that reflect light. For organic materials you see electronic excitations of molecules and all of this is further modulated by the surface structure. Which kind of effect interacts with electromagnetic waves of a given wavelength is also highly wavelength dependent. It's different for radiowaves than in the IR, which is different, again, from the visible, the UV and in the x-ray region. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Jan 2 '16 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ what do you mean by atoms are invisible ? basically, atoms ( and molecules ) may reflect , absorb and produce light(s) $\endgroup$ – user46925 Jan 2 '16 at 3:48
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One atom is so tiny that it is invisible to the human eye.

So actually each atom is "a tiny bit visible". Let's take 1g of iron. That contains 10^22 atoms.

So 10^22 times " a tiny bit visible" is visible to the human eye.

I hope this simple answer (ignoring the principles behind feeling and seeing atoms on atomic scale) helps you to understand.

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  • $\begingroup$ One can make single atoms easily visible to the human eye. All it takes is a reasonable strong, well focused laser and an atom that scatters strongly at the laser wavelength. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Jan 2 '16 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah one could do a lot. But that does not help understanding the problem $\endgroup$ – meneken17 Jan 2 '16 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ What does help to understand the problem is a basic knowledge of phenomenology of atomic and solid state physics, though. That individual atoms are invisible in the optical is simply not true. Neither does one necessarily have to see individual atoms. Many interactions of light with solids are actually primarily with the electrons in there or with an effective dielectric bulk behavior. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Jan 2 '16 at 3:31

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