Thursday, January 03, 2008

Near term speculations

Been reading about attoliter and zeptoliter fluidics recently and I had some thoughts on potentials for control of self assembly.

These tiny volumes of fluid restrict atom counts down into the tens of thousands of atoms. This is still a lot of atoms but self assembly processes will be constrained by that count. Polymers for instance will be unable to exceed this count in their catalysation, crystallization would have to occur in an indexed fashion especially if nanocrystals or colloidal particles were included in the initial solution. Mostly what strikes my mind is that the degrees of freedom would be limited albeit still huge. Many of the basic complaints about the sloppiness of self assembly can be addressed in such circumstances.

For instance if a chain was only allowed to polymerize within a carbon nanotube (thinking of UV polymerization here) the polymer resulting would not be entangled with its neighbors as is usually the case.

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