Quantum dots are essentially semiconductors that have an enormous control over electrons. This ability to control electrons just took a new dramatic leap forward when the National Institute of Nanotechnology at the University of Alberta announced that they created the smallest quantum dot.
Previously, quantum dots could only be used in low temperature settings; this new technology does not.
This is how the invention is described at Science Daily:
Often referred to as artificial atoms, quantum dots have previously ranged in size from 2-10 nanometers in diameter. While typically composed of several thousand atoms, all the atoms pool their electrons to “sing with one voice”, that is, the electrons are shared and coordinated as if there is only one atomic nucleus at the centre. That property enables numerous revolutionary schemes for electronic devices
What does this mean in a practical, dollars and cents, terms. It means that quantum dot revolution could be at a tipping point. If so it means the following innovations could get a boost:
- Quantum information processing (quantum computing)
- Better solar cells
- More energy-efficient electronics
- Medical markers
- Improved light emitting devices
Most of these innovations address the underlying fundamentals that will pave the way to the Singularity: energy and information processing. Whether quantum dot technology promotes this type of functions, remains to be seen. But, each quantum spin of the wheel draws us closer to our destination.