Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Forget polygons: create animation with atoms

IBM scientists have created the world’s smallest animation by using a scanning tunneling microscope to drag carbon monoxide molecules around on a copper plate.

A Boy And His Atom, which has been verified by Guinness World Records as the world’s smallest stop-motion film, uses the molecules like pixels to build up an animation of a boy playing with a ball.

The result is rather like watching a game of Pong, but at just under five minutes for the microscope to scan the plate each frame, the render times are quite manageable.

IBM’s website has a lot of nice bite-sized infobursts about the making of the animation, how the microscope works, and various other microscopic topics.

Read about the making of A Boy And His Atom on the IBM website