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Home > Introduction > Nanotechnology Glossary J through M


Last Updated: Monday, 20-Apr-2015 19:51:34 PDT

This Nanotechnology Glossary is a work-in-progress, and will be updated very frequently, so check back. Please email us with any missing terms, and we will include them. Any definition that can be attributed to an author will be, unless we get a quote sent to us without one. If you see one for which the author is not shown, and you know who it is, please let us know and we will make the update. Thanks! [brackets] indicate author and copyright holder

A - C | D - F | G - I | K | L | M | N | O - R | S - U | V - Z

Jupiter-Brain: A posthuman being of extremely high computational power and size. This is the archetypal concentrated intelligence. The term originated due to an idea by Keith Henson that nanomachines could be used to turn the mass of Jupiter into computers running an upgraded version of himself. [AS]

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Khaki Goo: Military nanotechnology; see grey goo. [AS]

Knowbots: Knowledge robots, first developed Vinton G. Cref and Robert E. Kahn for National Research Initiatives. Knowbots are programmed by users to scan networks for various kinds of related information, regardless of the language or form in which it expressed. "Knowbots support parallel computations at different sites. They communicate with one another, and with various servers in the network and with users." [Scientific American, September 1991, p.74.] [AS]

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Langmuir-Blodgett: The name of a nanofabrication technique used to create ultrathin films (monolayers and isolated molecular layers), the end result of which is called a "Langmuir-Blodgett film." More and more.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is the predominant technology used in flat panel displays. The principle that makes the display work is this: A crystalís alignment can be altered with an electric current. If the crystal is lined up one way ñ it will allow the light waves to pass through a polarized filter, but if the electric current alters the crystalís alignment, it will guide light so that the polarized filter blocks the light. By densely packing red, blue and green light emitting crystals next to each other on a sheet (ìcalled a substrateî), one can create a full color display. The great thing about LCD is that the crystals can be packed together closely, allowing for a higher-resolution, finer-detail display. The con is that LCDs are somewhat fragile, require a lot of power and are relatively less bright.

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) work on a completely different concept. Traditionally LEDs are created from two semiconductors. By running current in one direction across the semiconductor the LED emits light of a particular frequency (hence a particular color) depending on the physical characteristics of the semiconductor used. The semiconductor is covered with a piece of plastic that focuses the light and increases the brightness. These semiconductors are very durable, there is no filament, they donít require much power, theyíre brighter and they last a long time. By densely packing red, blue and green LEDs next to each other on a substrate one can create a display.

The disadvantage of LEDs is that they are much larger ñ therefore the resolution is not nearly as good as LCD displays. Thatís why most LED displays are large, outdoor displays, not smaller devices, like monitors.

OLED or Organic LED is not made of semiconductors. Itís made from carbon-based molecules. That is the key science factor that leads to potentially eliminating LEDsí biggest drawback ñ size. The carbon-based molecules are much smaller. And according to a paper written by Dr. Uwe Hoffmann, Dr. Jutta Trube and Andreas Kl–ppel, entitled OLED - A bright new idea for flat panel displays ìOLED is brighter, thinner, lighter, and faster than the normal liquid crystal (LCD) display in use today. They also need less power to run, offer higher contrast, look just as bright from all viewing angles and are - potentially - a lot cheaper to produce than LCD screens.î LCD, LED, and OLED definitions courtesy The San Francisco Consulting Group (SFCG)

Limited Assembler: Assembler capable of making only certain products; faster, more efficient, and less liable to abuse than a general-purpose assembler. [FS]

Linde Scenario: A scenario for indefinite survival of intelligent life. It assumes it is possible to either create basement universes connected to the original universe with a wormhole or the existence of other cosmological domains. Intelligent life continually migrates to the new domains as the old grow too entropic to sustain life. [AS/Mitch Porter, 1997. The name refers to Linde's chaotic inflation cosmology, where new universes are continually spawned.] See The Linde scenario, v0.01

Lofstrom Loop: An beanstalk-like megaconstruction based on a stream of magnetically accelerated bars linked together. The stream is sent into space, where a station rides it using magnetic hooks, redirects it horizontally to another station, which sends it downwards to a receiving station on the ground. From this station the stream is then sent back to the launch station (a purely vertical version is called a space fountain). This structure would contain a large amount of kinetic energy but could be built gradually and would only require enough energy to compensate for losses when finished. Elevators could be run along the streams, and geostationary installations could be placed along the horizontal top. [Named after Keith Lofstrom, who did the first detailed calculations on it in: Lofstrom, Keith H., "The launch loop -- a low cost Earth-to-high orbit launch system," AIAA Paper 85-1368, 1985]. [AS]

Low-dimension Structures: quantum wells, quantum wire and quantum dots.

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Matter as Software: "Autonomous, motile microdevices clearly are on the horizon. They may be regarded as the first step in the evolution of a technology for "programming" the structure and properties of material objects at the microscopic and the submicroscopic levels. As this evolution progresses, the physical and economic properties of such programmable matter are likely to become much like those of present day software." [MITRE Corporation]

Meat Machine: AKA Cabinet Beast. A box containing assemblers and raw material, within which is formed meat [or whatever else it was programmed to make]. [FS]

Mechanochemistry: the direct, mechanical control of molecular structure formation and manipulation to form atomically precise products [K. Eric Drexler. From Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation]

Mechanosynthesis: (where) molecular tools with chemically specific tip structures can be used, sequentially, to modify a work piece and build a wide range of molecular structures. [FS] See Technical Bibliography for Research on Positional Mechanosynthesis

Mechatronics: the study of the melding of AI and electromechanical machines to make machines that are greater than the sum of their parts. [FR]

Meme: An idea that replicates through a society as it is propagated through person-to-person interaction, both direct and indirect. Memetics is a field of study that focuses on memes' role in the evolution of a culture. [ZY]

MEMS--MicroelectroMechanical Systems: generic term to describe micron scale electrical/mechanical devices. [ZY] See The beauty of MEMS: Simpler, more reliable, cheaper, and cool - Small Times for a great description and examples of use.

Mesoscale: A device or structure larger than the nanoscale (10^-9 m) and smaller than the megascale; the exact size depends heavily on the context and usually ranges between very large nanodevices (10^-7 m) and the human scale (1 m). [AS]

Microencapsulation: Individually encapsulated small particles. see Journal of Microencapsulation

MIMIC: [micromoulding in capillaries] one-step rapid prototyping technique.

Molecular Assembler: Also known as an assembler, a molecular assembler is a molecular machine that can build a molecular structure from its component building blocks. [ZY]

Molecular Beam Epitaxy: [MBE] Process used to make compound (multi-layer) semiconductors. Consists of depositing alternating layers of materials, layer by layer, one type after another (such as the semiconductors gallium arsenide and aluminum gallium arsenide).

Molecular Biology: [AKA: wet nano]

Molecular Integrated Microsystems (MIMS): microsystems in which functions found in biological and nanoscale systems are combined with manufacturable materials. See Molecular Integrated Microsystems

Molecular Electronics (ME) [moletronics] Any system with atomically precise electronic devices of nanometer dimensions, especially if made of discrete molecular parts rather than the continuous materials found in today's semiconductor devices. [FS] Also: Using molecule-based materials for electronics, sensing, and optoelectronics .... ME is the set of electronic behaviors in molecule-containing structures that are dependent upon the characteristic molecular organization of space .... ME behavior is fixed at the scale of the individual molecule, which is effectively the nanoscale. [Mark Ratner & MT 5(2) p. 20

Molecular Manipulator: A device combining a proximal probe mechanism for atomically precise positioning with a molecule binding site on the tip; can serve as the basis for building complex structures by positional synthesis. [NTN]

Molecular Manufacturing: Manufacturing using molecular machinery, giving molecule-by-molecule control of products and by-products via positional chemical synthesis. [FS]

Exponential general-purpose molecular manufacturing -- that's a mouthful, but what does it mean? Let's take the phrase apart to see why it is so important.

MANUFACTURING: The ability to make products, in this case ranging from clothing, to electronics, to medical devices, to books, to building materials, and much more.

MOLECULAR manufacturing: The automated building of products from the bottom up, molecule by molecule, with atomic precision. This will make products that are extremely lightweight, flexible, durable, and potentially very 'smart'.

GENERAL-PURPOSE molecular manufacturing: A manufacturing technology that will find many applications across many segments of society. Its extreme flexibility, precision, high capacity, and low cost will cause rapid adoption almost everywhere, and therefore will have disruptive effects in many industries.

EXPONENTIAL general-purpose molecular manufacturing: The word exponential refers to the rapid pace -- probably unprecedented -- at which this technology may be deployed. A compact automated molecular manufacturing system will be able to make more manufacturing systems. We're talking about factories that can build duplicate factories -- and probably do it in less than a single day. The math is simple: if one factory makes two, and two factories make four, then within ten days you could have one thousand factories, in ten more days a million factories, and ten days after that a billion factories. Within the span of just a few weeks, in theory, every household in the world could have one of their own, to make most of the products they need, at just the cost of raw materials.

Exponential general-purpose molecular manufacturing means a manufacturing system capable of making a wide range of technologically advanced products, far superior to what we have today, much cheaper, much faster, and able to multiply its own source of production exponentially.

From Responsible Nanotechnology. See Unanswered Questions, Part 1 for details and comments.

Molecular Medicine: Studying molecules as they relate to health and disease, and manipulating those molecules to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease. [see Medscape Molecular Medicine for news]

Molecular Nanogenerator: see Molecular Nanogenerator Developed That Can Target Cancer Cells and Destroy Them

Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT): Thorough, inexpensive control of the structure of matter based on molecule-by-molecule control of products and byproducts; the products and processes of molecular manufacturing, including molecular machinery. [FS]

Molecular Recognition: A chemical term referring to processes in which molecules adhere in a highly specific way, forming a larger structure; an enabling technology for nanotechnology. [FS]

Molecular Systems Engineering: Design, analysis, and construction of systems of molecular parts working together to carry out a useful purpose. [FS]

Molecular Wire: A molecular wire - the simplest electronic component - is a quasi-one-dimensional molecule that can transport charge carriers (electrons or holes) between its ends. [Michael D Ward]

MOLMAC: Molecular machine [Kilian, Gryphon]

Monomer: The units from which a polymer is constructed. [ZY]

Monomolecular Computing: the implantation inside a single molecule of ALL the functional groups or circuits to realize a calculation, without any help from external artifices such as re-configuration, calculation sharing between the user and the machine, or selection of the operational devices. [ C. Joachim]

Moore's Law -- Coined in 1965 by Gordon Moore, future chairman and chief executive of Intel, it stated at the time that the of number transistors packed into an integrated circuit had doubled every year since the technology's inception four years earlier. In 1975 he revised this to every two years, and most people quote 18 months. The trend cannot continue indefinitely with current lithographic techniques, and a limit is seen in ten to fifteen years. However, the baton could be passed to nanoelectronics, to continue the trend (though the smoothness of the curve will very likely be disrupted if a completely new technology is introduced). [CMP]

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Key to Abbreviations for Original Authors

 Blank - our definition
 AS - Anders Sandberg
 Bostrom - Dr. Nick Bostrom
 BNL - Brookhaven National Laboratory Center for Functional Nanomaterials
 CA-B - Christopher Anderson-Beatty
 CP - Chris Phoenix
 CMP - CMP Científica
 DCBE - Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Toyama University
 FR - Fractal Robots
 FS - Foresight Institute
 KED - K. Eric Drexler
 LBL - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
 MT - Materials Today
 NTN - NanoApex [formerly NanotechNews]
 RCM - Ralph C. Merkle
 Encyclopedia Nanotech - Steve Lenhert
 Wid - Widener University
 ZY - Zyvex
 (p) - paraphrased. Occasionally necessary for contextual purposes.
 [ed] - editor
 [uhf] - used here first. In other words, we coined it.
 .... - a paragraph has been condensed, and portions left off [while still attempting to maintain context].

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Other Future Sciences, Nanotech and Nanoscience glossary sites





Nanotechnology Part One: Taxonomy Codesta

Nanomedicine Book Glossary R A Freitas Jr.

JPK Instruments NanoBiotechnology Glossary (click NanoResources/Glossary)

Nanoword Steve Lenhert

Lextropicon: Extropian Neologisms Max More

Transhuman Terminology Anders Sandberg

Accelerating Future Lexicon Michael Anissimov

Terminology From The Omega Point Theory List

Orion's Arm Glossary M.Alan Kazlev, et al

Russian Society of Scanning Probe Microscopy and Nanotechnology.

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