Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, and the Infinite Weirdness of Programmable Atoms

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Basic Books, 2003 - Technology & Engineering - 222 pages
8 Reviews
Programmable matter is probably not the next technological revolution, nor even perhaps the one after that. But it's coming, and when it does, it will change our lives as much as any invention ever has. Imagine being able to program matter itself-to change it, with the click of a cursor, from hard to soft, from paper to stone, from fluorescent to super-reflective to invisible. Supported by companies ranging from Levi Strauss to IBM and the Defense Department, solid-state physicists in laboratories at MIT, Harvard, Sun Microsystems, and elsewhere are currently creating arrays of microscopic devices called "quantum dots" that are capable of acting like programmable atoms. They can be configured electronically to replicate the properties of any known atom and then can be changed, as fast as an electrical signal can travel, to have the properties of a different atom. Soon it will be possible not only to engineer into solid matter such unnatural properties as variable magnetism, programmable flavors, or centuple bonds far stronger than diamond, but also to change these properties at will. Wil McCarthy visits the laboratories and talks with the researchers who are developing this extraordinary technology; describes how they are learning to control its electronic, optical, thermal, magnetic, and mechanical properties; and tells us where all this will lead. The possibilities are truly magical.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BakuDreamer - LibraryThing

This is all about quantum dots ( which I think should be called quantum cells ) and it doesn't skip on details Read full review

Review: Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, And The Infinite Weirdness Of Programmable Atoms

User Review  - Deanna Knippling - Goodreads

Fun stuff. I think the book did a good job of explaining both the basic science (for those of us who don't do this on a daily basis) and the ideas behind the quantum dots. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Wil McCarthy is a novelist, the science columnist for the SciFi channel, and the Chief Technology Officer for Galileo Shipyards, an aerospace research corporation. Hacking Matter is an expansion of an article that appeared in Wired in October 2001. He lives in Lakewood, Colorado.

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