[extropy-chat] Casimir Torque Project

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Wed May 4 17:46:57 UTC 2005

--- Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Tue, May 03, 2005 at 02:10:33PM -0700, Adrian Tymes wrote:
> > I, for one, am working on at least one advanced-tech R&D project. 
> I
> Do you have a web page of your (nanotechnology, isn't it?) project,
> or can
> you post a description, of what you're doing?


The appropriate IP protections - registered copyright, (provisional)
patent, et al - are in place for the above, so I can publically
disclose them.

The general reaction I've gotten from academics who know quantum
physics is that it doesn't violate what we know - but they don't want
to say it should work unless I can produce a working prototype.  That's
fine: I'm of the same mind.  (Non-QM experts sometiems cite
thermodynamics, without quite knowing why it applies here.  I encourage
them to think of this as an open system: the energy flows in from the
quantum fluctuations that are all around us - which, in turn,
presumably get their energy from somewhere else, but they haven't been
explored thoroughly so we don't know what their energy source is.
Building this device may, in fact, be the only way we have to explore
that.  In any case, the device is actually a convertor, not a
generator, even if it acts like a generator for most purposes and
converts a form of energy not otherwise accessible to us.)

So, in order to actually build the above-described device, I've become
a labmember at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility.  The research is
slow - for a number of reasons, I can't work on it every day; about one
session a week is closer to the average - but we're making progress.
It took me a long time to cobble the theory together, but the practice
is proving tougher, for reasons having nothing to do with QM.  For
example, we're using e-beam lithography to write the patterns, but for
a while we couldn't get the machine to recognize previous layers - and
the recipe I've come up with calls for six layers, precisely aligned.
We solved that by adding a seventh, target layer, with a bunch of
tungsten targets for the litho machine to spot and align to when

At the moment, it's highly unlikely we'll have results before July,
and only somewhat unlikely we'll have results even that soon.  (The
"we" is myself, a friend with more lab experience than I who I talked
into helping, and our SNF contact who is an expert at e-beam litho.
Alternately, the "we" is Winged Cat Solutions, a DBA I registered
partly so that SNF could do business with a company rather than a
person: they don't have any processes for serving individuals who
aren't associated with a university, the government, or industry.  Of
course, that's not the only thing WCS does...but that's the extent of
its involvement with this topic.)

Even if the theory proves to be incorrect, and the device even if
perfectly constructed would not cause a net torque, SNF personnel have
remarked that the nanostructuring techniques I'm coming up with are
unique in the world (in the words of one who had recently returned from
helping with Europe's nanotech scene, so he probably knows what he's
talking about).  To me, they seem a bit common-sense - once given the
need for a highly structured device on the true nanoscale (not the
abused form of the word "nanotech", but stuff that truly is
sub-micron).  Regardless, it looks like it would make for a good
academic paper...and then there's the fact that, if it fails, current
knowledge of quantum mechanics would be shown to be possibly incorrect.
(Again, the academics said it agrees with current QM knowledge; if it
fails, there has to be a reason.  If it fails and manufacturing defects
can be ruled out - which would be tough to do, but if they can...)
So it's worth doing even if the theory is incorrect.

Yes, I know the ramifications if the theory is correct.  Believe me, I
know.  I struggle to *not* constantly think about them - they're
distracting, and if I actually want to see them come true, I have to
focus on how I get there instead of what things would be like
afterwards if I succeed.  And I have to remember that, until and unless
I prove it correct, there is a significant chance the theory is not

BTW - even aside from the IP protections, I don't mind discussing the
QM side of things in public.  Again, the real bear is the
nanofabrication aspect, and there are very few places in the world
that can even seriously attempt this project.  SNF is one of them.
Even if someone were to get a complete copy of my current formula for
the nanofab process, though, the formula's constantly changing as we
work out the kinks - it'd be useless to anyone not actively developing
it.  (And even if someone were to somehow steal it, whiz-develop it
overnight, get all the IP rights, find a way to cheaply build
convertors at the high end of what I'm thinking it might do, et
cetera...well, gee, I wouldn't get rich off of it, I'd just be in a
world where someone else's non-polluting energy source suddenly emerged
and made the oil industry nearly obsolete, et cetera.  Such a burden to
no longer have to buy gasoline, to be able to ride cheap Earth-to-orbit
transports made possible by this, and so forth.  Kind of like if
someone else develops a cure for cancer, so I merely don't have to
worry about cancer instead of that and getting rich off of it.  My
primary objective here is to improve our world...and the best way to
make sure something happens is to at least start doing it yourself.
This is the attitude I take towards most of my inventions.  Experience
has shown, though, that for truly cutting-edge stuff, the pool of
people actually able to rip me off even if I tell them everything is
quite small, and only a small portion of those have sufficiently low
honesty that they'd want to rip me off.  Most of those who'd want to,
lack the knowledge and/or facilities to do so.  There's a reason for

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