David Lubkin wrote:
> >Perhaps, but I hazard that people will be trying to change the shape of
> >a single atom's wave function any day now, if they aren't already. And
> >that they will succeed well before the first molecular assembler is built.
> I guess I'm making a safe bet ... I just noticed that there's a report in the
> May Scientific American about how Philip Bucksbaum at the University of
> Michigan *has* changed atoms' wave functions already, although his
> current technique only works on 10^6 atoms at a time.
> See http://www.sciam.com/1999/0599issue/0599techbus2.html
This is just the sculpting of the quantum wave function of the electrons orbiting the nuclei using laser pulses and feedback. Its very useful for tailoring the catalyzation of chemical reactions to allow for in process quality control, eliminating impurities and unwanted alternate reactions. It does not change the actual properties of the matter itself. The sort of wave functions we are talking about it to change the wave function of the nucleus itself to change the elemental properties (atomic number, mass, isotope, etc). I don't know if the atom lasers developed from Bose-Einstein condensates would be useful for this. Anyone?