Miniature Parts

We can also miniaturize conventional electronic computing devices using molecular transistors and quantum dots. Quantum dots are nano-sized single electron transistors, each electron, because it is a single charge, can "store" information. Also called q-dots, dots can be of silicon and just a few atoms across. One advantage is that q-dots glow brightly in ultraviolet light producing a different hue depending on a dot's size. Two nanometer-sized dots of a substance may glow green but five nanometer dots glow red. If we coat a dot with a material that makes the dot adhere to specific molecules, dots may be injected and followed through a circulation to see where they adhere to their targets. In this way, we might watch flows and processes.

We can also use quantum dots as nano-switches to process information. The downside is that nano-switches alone have no memory capabilities. And now comes the even harder part. To build really small we must also design and build logic gates and registers on the scale of single molecules. In even our best micro-scenarios, quantum dots contain a discrete number of electrons that move around as a superimposed electromagnetic field varies. How do bees operate without electronic components? They employ the energy of sunlight captured in the chemical bonds of carbohydrate molecules.

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