Re: Submolecular nanotech [WAS: Goals]
18 May 1999 01:26:40 -0000

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> wrote:

> I know of at least two instances of sub-molecular technology. (1)
> artificial atoms; (2) sculpted quantum states. (Unfortunately my links
> appear to be broken - sorry, guys! (1) is changing the shape of a
> single atom's wavefunction, and (2) is doing some kind of custom stuff
> on probability distributions, I think. Anyone have a valid link?)

The only time I've read the phrase "artificial atom" was in discussions of quantum dots, where multiple silicon atoms and their cohorts are arranged to shape an electron's view of the world. So a dot with one electron is an artificial hydrogen atom, and there was vague talk about being able to make higher artificial 'atoms' or molecules. Wait, maybe that's what you mean by (2). Well, I've never seen them separate.

I remember something recent about writing information into the electron cloud of an atom.

Both are still entirely QED based -- pure electron manipulation. I've never read of a hint of practical nucleonic technology. We can smash things inefficiently, or use natural fissiles, and maybe someday we'll be able to usefully fuse H, and that's it out to the current horizon.

> Not hydrogen-into-gold (does jon have any idea how much energy that
> would release? it'd be orders of magnitude more than an equivalent
> thermonuclear hydrogen-to-helium),

As others have said, nope. H is at the top of the potential energy curve, iron is at the bottom (I don't know if some trans-transuranic could be lower.) Just going to helium takes you 3/4 of the way down the well. From the chart lubkin posted, Au is perhaps halfway between He and Fe.

-xx- Damien X-)