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Quantum Dots and Programmable Matter
Wil McCarthy, Galileo Systems LLC

Track: Hardware
Date: Thursday, February 12
Time: 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Location: Plaza

Electronic devices are rapidly shrinking to the nanometer scale, where quantum mechanics dominates and particles become waves. Here, the distinction between chemistry, mechanics, and electronics begins to blur. Case in point: the quantum dot, a device capable of trapping electrons in a space so small that they form "artificial atoms" whose size and shape and charge can be controlled in real time. Historically, the properties of matter are determined at the time of manufacture, through careful mixing and processing. But now we find ourselves at the dawn of a new age, where substances exist whose optical, electrical, magnetic, and even mechanical properties can be adjusted at the flip of a bit. In a 75-minute lecture and 45-minute Q&A, engineer/journalist/novelist Wil McCarthy explores the social and technological implications of this "programmable matter."

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