The Wave Function and Quantum Dots: Nanotechnology Videos

An interview with a noted nanoscientist and quantum dots for camera sensors on video

1 min read

The other day I was critical of the UK’s nanotechnology strategy document. However, I am a great admirer of the UK scientists and engineers working in the field of nanotechnology, which makes the recent strategy document such a double disappointment.

To sort of atone for my criticism, I wanted to highlight a UK-based researcher, Professor Philip Moriarty at the University of Nottingham, who first came to my attention a few years back on the pages of Richard Jones’ blog Soft Machines , when Moriarty had organized a debate on the subject of radical nanotechnology, otherwise known as molecular nanotechnology. I also recently noted his ability to secure funding for his research to test the theories of molecular manufacturing, and wondered if he can do it why aren’t more molecular manufacturing theorists doing it.

So I was pleased to see the nanotech-focused blog 10minus9 has just recently completed a two-part interview with Moriarty that is worth a read.

Just as a primer and some visual entertainment, I thought I would also post this video of him attempting to describe, explain or define (whichever you think appropriate) the Wave Function.


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As long we’re on the subject of quantum mechanics, nanotechnology and sharing videos, I thought I would refer you to a recent blog post here  on Spectrum’s Tech Talk that discusses the use by InVisage Technologies of quantum dots for camera sensors.

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How the First Transistor Worked

Even its inventors didn’t fully understand the point-contact transistor

12 min read
A phot of an outstretched hand with several transistors in the palm of it.

A 1955 AT&T publicity photo shows [in palm, from left] a phototransistor, a junction transistor, and a point-contact transistor.


The vacuum-tube triode wasn’t quite 20 years old when physicists began trying to create its successor, and the stakes were huge. Not only had the triode made long-distance telephony and movie sound possible, it was driving the entire enterprise of commercial radio, an industry worth more than a billion dollars in 1929. But vacuum tubes were power-hungry and fragile. If a more rugged, reliable, and efficient alternative to the triode could be found, the rewards would be immense.

The goal was a three-terminal device made out of semiconductors that would accept a low-current signal into an input terminal and use it to control the flow of a larger current flowing between two other terminals, thereby amplifying the original signal. The underlying principle of such a device would be something called the field effect—the ability of electric fields to modulate the electrical conductivity of semiconductor materials. The field effect was already well known in those days, thanks to diodes and related research on semiconductors.

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