Foresight Institute Logo
Image of nano

Explosive silicon in MEMS?

Mr_Farlops writes "Serendipity struck for chemists at the University of California, San Diego, after a chip of porous silicon, laced with gadolinium nitrate, exploded after being scratched. An article in the EE Times describes the nature of this discovery and speculates about the possible uses of the substance in microscopic rockets and explosive charges. It also sets the mind daydreaming about tiny fuses made of nested nanotubes filled with fuel and oxidizers."

3 Responses to “Explosive silicon in MEMS?”

  1. SeanKiely Says:

    Effective license enforcement at last?

    The most signifigant effect of the development of these explosive chips may be the on-chip ability to permanantly, physically, disable a chip when certain conditions are met.

    Imagine a manufacturer of a GPS device having the ability to remotely destroy a key chip component if the device is reported stolen. Or the DOD selling Stinger missles to foreign agencies, knowing that the weapons can be permanently diabled remotely if a coded radio signal is detected by a micro-antenna on-board the chip. . .

  2. Mr_Farlops Says:

    Re:Effective license enforcement at last?

    Perhaps they could be used to disable stolen mobile phones–although I think they'd have to do some safety testing (Does it slag the chip inside its ceramic casing, rendering the phone useless or does it melt the whole phone and thus pose a hazard to the user's hand?) with that before letting consumers buy them.

    The evil genius in me, makes me think of a future where large software companies make deals with hardware manufactures:

    1) The operating system notes which components are over two years old. It triggers that component to melt–forcing the user to upgrade.

    2) A user attempts to load and run cracked software. The cracked software fails a hardwired security test and slags the user's CPU.

    Bringing things back to nano and MEMS, this could used as security feature in microsopic robots released in the wild–a radio signal cast over a crop field destroys all the pest killing robots.

  3. CraigHubley Says:

    Re: Effective license enforcement at last?

    If this means that the missiles and killer robots and other junk get handed out like candy to anyone who agrees to pay back US junk bond debt, and then gets disabled the second they miss a payment, it's not going to work out very well in the long run. It's a global tyranny for sure.

Leave a Reply