Rudy Rucker's next book SAUCER WISDOM, a fictionalised popular science treatment of various futurist notions he's already included in sf plus some new ideas, projects a quark femtotechnology. (The book will be from Forge, a division of Tor, and will be out in July.)
Here's his (handwaving, but provocative) description of nuclear chemistry, the basis of his *alla* - the device nanotech enthusiasts foresee one level up as a `black box' matter compiler:
< `What's quark-flipping? A proton is a quark-bag holding two up quarks and one down quark, while a neutron is [blah]. ...you need to get into the bag and flip the one quark.'
< [...] `We use a chaotic cascade to fuse all the nucleons' quark-bags into a quark-gluon plasma that we're free to flip, shuffle, and regroup. The process will be directed by high-level user-request patterns made via a custom-designed radiotelepathic [communicator] that incorporates low-level implementation instructions for a few thousand basic substances.' >
Easy, when you know how... :)