I was reading the latest CoolChips press release,
which mentions the fact that it exploits quantum tunnelling, and it
made me wonder whether this approach amounts to a form of Quantum
It is Quantum Mechanical phenomena which are causing the electrons to
traverse the nano-gap (tunnelling), and so these quantum effects are
acting as a catalyst by making possible the heat transfer to begin
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to remove quantum
tunnelling effects to compare against a non-catalyzed situation.
However, I would assume that if you brought things closer to absolute
zero, then the quantum tunnelling would still work unhindered to
transfer heat, whereas a purely thermionic setup wouldn't be able to
jump that gap at all.
I guess we don't have to think about how to harness such effects
towards catalysis of molecular reactions, since Van der Waals forces
already represent this.
But what about transistor-style gate or switch applications? Is this
what a Field-Effect Transistor already does?
What other applications could quantum mechanical catalysis be used
for, which haven't already been done?
Could it be used in some way for resistance-free current flow? If you
had a series of nano-sized elements lined front-to-back and separated
by nano-gaps, where the frontside of each had the lower work function
and the backside of each had the higher work function, could the
quantum tunnelling alone kick the current along in appreciable
quantities? Each element could perhaps be nano-sized if not
Also, since the outward bulging ends of nanotubes are known to have
good emission properties (low work function), is it possible to have a
concave nanotube end which bulged inward? I'd assume that a
concave-inward bulge might have a correspondingly high work function.
I was just imagining a series of short nanotubes (nano-capsules) each
having one end which bulged out normally, but with the other end
bulging inward. These would then be lined front-to-back in the manner
I described above, like a train of bullets.
Or could a chain of quantum dots do the same thing, if they were all
separated by nano-gaps?