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May 13th, 2005

The quantum bridge of asses

Richard Jones: A good way of assessing whether a writer knows what they are talking about when it comes to nanotechnology is to look at what they say about quantum mechanics. There’s a very widespread view that what makes the nanoscale different to the macroscale is that, whereas the macroscale is ruled by classical mechanics, the nanoscale is ruled by quantum mechanics. The reality, as usual, is more complicated than this. It’s true that there are some very interesting quantum size effects that can be exploited in things like quantum dots and semiconductor heterostructures.

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