At the root of it, everything Femtotechnology News is about all comes down to femtoscience. So what is femtoscience? What’s the definition? While it’s clearly a big subject, where do you start? Don’t be afraid. Let this article serve as a basic introduction to femtoscience. The following will not be especially technical, so even the layperson may form a coherent understanding.
The Heritage of Nanotechnology
For many decades now, smaller has been better in the technology world. However, as scientists keep shrinking electronics per Moore’s Law and we look towards an even more miniscule future, we should not forget the past. Nanoscience is a relatively new term, but humans have been using nanotechnology for hundreds and hundreds of years.
“Wait, what?” You see, nanoscience gives us the tools and understanding necessary to see and quantify what’s going on at a very small scale. But just because we’ve only understood it recently, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been using its benefits for a long time- even without knowing it. For instance, nanoparticles are responsible for a certain color in old stained-glass windows; the artists and craftspeople didn’t know a thing about “nanoparticles”, but they knew the right methods to make it work.
Nanoscience only began in 1959 with a now-famous speech by Richard Feynman called “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” It’s progressed slowly, in isolated spurts here and there, and only in the last few decades have nanoscientists started coming together and gaining more scientific ground.
Femtoscience is currently the next fringe, orders of magnitude smaller than nanoscience, and many out there wonder if it’s too soon to even think about the femtoscale yet. My response- if you’re going to think forward, why not go all the way?
The Basics of Femtoscience
When it comes down to it, femtoscience is a materials science. Its scale, though, allows these materials to have uses in practically anything you can imagine; femto-enhanced rubber may one day make up the soles of your incredibly resilient shoes, femto-sized probes and chemicals may one day course through your blood to protect against deadly diseases, and femtotechnology may one day enable your smartphone to be as thin and flexible as you’d like it- or even integrated into your body. But that’s another story.
You’ve probably heard that quantum physics is a pretty weird science– bizarre phenomenons like quantum tunneling, uncertainty, and Schrödinger’s cat abound. Much of this strangeness comes from the scale of the stuff involved. Subatomic particles, we’ve found, show some very non-intuitive properties! By using these non-intuitive properties in new and innovative ways, we can make our technology do things that seem increasingly impossible.
Because femtoscience works with these particles and physical forces as its primary tools and building blocks, a lot of new things are possible. These have so far included both upgrades to existing manufacturing processes, whole new subfields of existing sciences, and more. Femtoscience, being so new, is also fertile ground for massive ingenuity and technological upheavals, as many applications for new systems can often take years and years to realize. How long was the internet around before we had social media? How long did we have cell phones before we had smartphones? And how long will it take for someone to create something so obvious and yet so fundamentally new and valuable with femtoscience?
Only time will tell. At the moment, many of the proposed future ideas sound like technology straight out of Star Trek; then again, a lot Star Trek technology has already been introduced around you.
There exists a time, one day in the future, when femtoscience applications will be as commonplace as computers and microchips are now. Surely, 100 years ago, few people expected the world today to be anything like how it is now. In another hundred years from our current perspective, the possibilities are only limited by what we can imagine. It’s for that reason why the scientists of today shouldn’t limit their own visions.
Femtoscience is already having impacts in our world, and the number of these impacts is only going to increase. It’s to your benefit to learn about it ahead of time. In such a new realm of science, changes happen fast– and that’s why you need Femtotechnology News to stay up to date.
The future may not be so far away after all.Discussed in this article: Moore's Law • Quantum Physics • Richard Feynman • Star Trek • There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom