SAMFET: (self assembled monolayer field effect transistor). Where a few molecules act as FETs, exhibiting both very strong gain, and extraordinarily rapid response. [Mark Ratner & MT 5(2) p. 20]
Scanning Capacitance Microscopy: A method for mapping the local capacitance of a surface. [NTN]
Scanning Electron Microscopy: see Virtual Scanning Electron Microscopy [Fl St U]
Scanning Force Microscope (SFM): An instrument able to image surfaces to molecular accuracy by mechanically probing their surface contours. A kind of proximal probe. .... A device in which the deflection of a sharp stylus mounted on a soft spring is monitored as the stylus is moved across a surface. If the deflection is kept constant by moving the surface up and down by measured increments, the result (under favorable conditions) is an atomic-resolution topographic map of the surface. Also termed an atomic force microscope. [FS]
Scanning Near Field Optical Microscopy: A method for observing local optical properties of a surface that can be smaller than the wavelength of the light used. [NTN]
Scanning Thermal Microscopy: A method for observing local temperatures and temperature gradients on a surface. [NTN]
Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM): An instrument able to image conducting surfaces to atomic accuracy; has been used to pin molecules to a surface. [NTN]
Sealed Assembler Laboratory: A work space, containing assemblers, encapsulated in a way that allows information to flow in and out but does not allow the escape of assemblers or their products. [NTN]
Self-assembly: In chemical solutions, self-assembly (also called Brownian assembly) results from the random motion of molecules and the affinity of their binding sites for one another. Also refers to the joining of complementary surfaces in nanomolecular interaction. [ZY] See MITRE Nanosystems Research Task:Self-Assembly of Nanosystems and Microsystems
Self-repair: indicating ability to heal itself without outside intervention.
Self-replication: More accurately labeled "exponential replication," self-replication refers to the process of growth or replication involving doubling within a given period. [ZY] Example: create one assembler. Program it to create another, and program that one likewise, etcetera,until you have a specified amount [which is the important part -- how to makethem STOP].
Sentience Quotient: In the article "Xenopsychology" by Robert Freitas in Analog of April 1984 there is an interesting index called"Sentience quotient". It is based on: The sentience of an intelligence is roughly directly related to the amount of data it can process per unit time and inversely to the overall mass needed to do that processing.This would be something like baud/kilograms. And since that would rapidly turn into a real big number, base 10 logs are used. The "least sentient" would be one bit over the lifetime of the universe massing the entire known universe, or about -70. The "most sentient" is claimed to be +50. Homosapiens are around +13, a Cray I is +9, a venus flytrap is a peak of +1 with plants generally -2. [AS]
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT): See Nanotubes and buckyballs
Shape Memory Alloys: (SMA's) are a unique class of alloys which are able to "remember" their shape and are able to return to that shape even after being bent. The ability is known as the shape memory effect. ... This property has lead to many uses of SMA from orthodontics and coffee makers to methods of controlling aircraft and protecting buildings from earthquake damage. ... The first SMA to be discovered and the most commonly used is called Nitinol. [Texas A&M SMART lab] See also Introduction to Shape Memory and Super elasticity and Shape Memory Alloy Database
Singularity: Defined by Vernor Vinge as the "postulated point or short period in our future when our self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously (powered by nanotechnology, neuroscience, AI, and perhaps uploading) so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived....a future time when societal, scientific and economic change is so fast we cannot even imagine what will happen from our present perspective, and when humanity will become post humanity." Another definition is the singular time when technological development will be at its fastest. A grand evolutionary leap.
siRNA – (small interfering RNAs) small stretches of nucleotides, similar to DNA, that are capable of interfering with normal cellular processes.
Sky Hook: A long, very strong, cable in orbit around a planet which rotates around its center of mass in such a way that when one end is closest to the ground, its relative velocity is almost zero. It would function as a kind of space elevator; shuttle craft would anchor to the end and then be lifted into orbit where they would be released. It is closely related to the idea of a beanstalk. [Originally described by Y Artsutanov in 1969. The name was probably coined by Hans Moravec in Moravec, Hans, "A Non-Synchronous Orbital Skyhook," Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 25, No. 4,October-December 1977, pp 307-322 ] [AS]
Smartdust: also "Smartdust Motes""...tiny, bottle-cap-shaped micro-machines fitted with wireless communication devices - that measure light and temperature [among other things, such as environmental monitoring, health, security, distributed processing and tracking - ed]. When clustered together, they automatically create highly flexible, low-power networks with applications ranging from climate-control systems to entertainment devices that interact with handheld computers." [ What 'Smart Dust' Could Do for You By Zillah Bahar. 06/2001]
Smart Materials: Here, materials and products capable of relatively complex behavior due to the incorporation of nanocomputers and nanomachines. Also used for product shaving some ability to respond to the environment. [NTN] If you combined microscopic motors, gears, levers, bearing, plates, sensors, power and communication cables, etc., with powerful microscopic computers, you have the makings of a new class of materials: "smart materials." Programmable smart materials could shape-shift into just about any desired object. A house made of smart materials would be quite useful and interesting. Imagine a wall changing colour at your command, or making a window where there was none before. [Bill Spence]
Space Fountain: A vertical stream of magnetically accelerated pellets reaching out into space, where a station held aloft by its momentum reverses the direction and directs it towards a receiver on the ground. Essentially a simpler version of a Lofstrom loop. [I'm not sure who originated the idea, judging from Robert Forward's Indistinguishable from Magic it was a collaborative effort. A paper about the idea can be found in Hyde, Roderick A.,"Earthbreak: Earth to Space Transportation," Defense Science 2003+Vol. 4, No. 4, 1985, pp 78-92 ] [AS]
Spike, The: Another term for the singularity, suggested by Damien Broderick since the growth curves look almost like a spike as it is approached. [DamienBroderick, The Spike 1997] [AS]
Spintronics: AKA: Quantum Spintronics, Magneto electronics, Spin Electronics. Electronic devices that exploit the spin of electrons as well as their charge. Unlike conventional electronics which is based on number of charges and their energy, and whose performance limited in speed and dissipation, spintronics is based on the direction of electron spin, and spin coupling, and is capable of much higher speed at much lower power. See our page on Spintronics. Also see Electronics and the single atom for a collection of articles (12 June 2002).
Star Trek Scenario: Someone builds potentially dangerous self-replicating devices that spread disastrously. [FS]
Stewart Platforms: A positional device. John Storrs info and links See also A New Family of Six Degree Of FreedomPositional Devices
Superconductor: An object or substance that conducts electricitywith zero resistance. [NTN]
Superintelligence: An intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills. This definition leaves open how the superintelligence is implemented: it could be a digital computer, an ensemble of networked computers, cultured cortical tissue etc. It also leaves open whether the superintelligence is conscious and has subjective experiences. [Bostrom]
Superlattice Nanowire Pattern (transfer): [SNAP] a technique for producing "Ultra High Density Nanowire Lattices and Circuits". See Researchers Discover How to Make the Smallest, Most Perfect, Densest Nanowire Lattices-And It's a SNAP
Superposition: A quantum mechanical phenomena in which an object exists in more than one state simultaneously. [NTN]
Superlattices: Artificial metallic superlattices are multilayered thin films, prepared by alternately depositing two elements using vacuum deposition or sputtering techniques. A wide spectrum of elements and compounds are suitable for deposition into superlattice structures, and the range of properties displayed by the resulting super structures is greatly dependent upon the properties of both individual lattices as well as the interaction between them. [see The SuperlatticeCollection for images.]
Superlattice Nanowire: interwoven bundles of nanowires using substances with different compositions and properties.
Synthespian: An artificial actor, for example a 3D model animated by motion capture from a real actor or a computer program. [AS]