Manipulate atoms in your browser

In the game, we show how an electron beam scans across a simulated graphene sample line by line, revealing the locations of the carbon atoms that make up the lattice, as well as the brighter silicon impurities. Instead of imaging, we can also control the electron beam with a mouse and direct it at individual atoms, much as in the simulator above (although in reality, we have to stop scanning). By placing the beam on an atom next to an impurity, we can move silicon atoms within the lattice (see Background).

Patience is required for the game: it takes a few seconds until it can be seen whether the electron beam has actually moved an atom (in reality, it takes about 15 seconds on average). If you need instructions, please see the video below, and note that not every pattern can be realized in this way. Which pattern will you create?

Join the Conversation


  1. So ein wildes Ding, hat gleich den ganzen Rechner lahmgelegt (ist mir noch schon lange nicht mehr untergekommen), oder benötigt es 1 TByte RAM ?

    1. Sollte nicht so viel RAM brauchen, aber leider ist nicht voll optimiert… Es wurde ursprünglich für die Ausstellung erstellt und später für die Verwendung mit dem Browser angepasst. Welcher Browser haben Sie?

    1. Good to hear! It may not be the best “game”, but it’s quite close to how we do the actual research – that’s even more fun 🙂

  2. Da schlägt das Chemikerherz höher und erreicht das Herz des Spielers 🙂 Was passiert, wenn mit 2 Strahlen operiert wird und 2 Siliziumatome gegeneinandergeschoben werden?

    1. Derzeit ist es nicht möglich, zwei atomar fokussierte Elektronenstrahlen zu haben. Aber man kann ein Atom nach dem anderen bewegen, was wir derzeit versuchen zu erreichen. Die Probenqualität ist die größte Herausforderung.

  3. Hello!
    The game looks nice, but it says it is not available on my browser (Google Chrome). Which browser can I use instead? If I have created a nice pattern, I would like to take a screenshot and publish it in our Dutch chemistry magazine ( Is that possible?
    Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Daniel!

      The game runs just fine in my Chrome on Mac, which operating system are you using? Please try whatever browsers you have, it should be fairly compatible.

      And sure, feel free to screenshot a pattern and publish it (unfortunately we didn’t find an easy way to save files from the web app), just mention the website 🙂


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *