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Quantum Debris

by Terence Thomas

In laboratories that produce LSIC Large Scale Integrated Circuits, there are clean rooms. These rooms require that all personnel wear special suits and other equipment to assure that dust particles do not settle on exposed circuits. Still, a rather large number of circuits fail their final test run.

Even when you get your car painted a great deal of care is taken to prevent dust particles from settling on your car. This would certainly suggest that neatness counts, and despite the fact that we take precautions to a fault, we still often fall short of perfection.

The Real World

For as long as man has had the drive to organize his surroundings, he has had problems with floating debris and dust. Contaminants are all around us and it makes it impossible to work with anything pure. Although we have improved our housekeeping duties over the years we cannot claim total success. As proof of this, even single transistors are made within a plus-to-minus tolerance range. Transistor testers that produce an audio tone output (like the T-40) will produce a wide variety of pitches even with transistors with the same number and from the same manufacturer. Although we are constantly refining our manufacturing techniques, absolute perfection will remain just a goal. Most of the debris we see in every day life is not invisible and just interferes with our perception of the world.

Real World Debris

If we could see all of the floating particles around us it would look like a sandstorm, as in the drawing above. Even deep space, as seen through giant telescopes, looks amazingly like debris. So when we look at the cosmic level and the real world level we have debris, why then should we have no debris on the quantum level?

This is the real world mess that we deal with everyday. Much of the specks are too small to see so they appear as a mist or haze. When the sun shines through a window you will see a beam of light, which is light bouncing off the specks in the air. It can be said that there is no place where the atmosphere is totally free of floating debris.

Night Sky

Debris in the real world consists of smoke, fog, smog, industrial gasses, water vapor, dandruff and animal and human dry skin fragments, natural gas, insect particles, etc, etc, etc. Virtually anything light enough to be picked up by a puff of wind is debris. You might say that if you can smell it, it's debris, the list is endless. During tornadoes, things as large as a house can classify as debris.

Cosmic debris is quite a bit different. Most of cosmic dust is a combination of different gasses mixed with meteoroids and particles of vastly different sizes and temperatures. We are not directly effected by cosmic debris so there is no real reason to pursue a discussion. That might make an interesting article for future consideration.

To see, or not to see

The inability to see atomic particles did not keep us from developing the atomic bomb in 1945, but that may be because the end result is a chain reaction and produces an explosion. To produce anything other than a chain reaction, and thus an explosion, requires a bit more intimate knowledge of particle physics. This includes knowledge of what effect subatomic foreign particles have on active subatomic particles.

When one can not see the elements that are in play when doing research, a second sight must be added to the techniques used. We have learned that when certain things occur when a particular procedure is followed, it serves as a useful information-gathering tool. At the quantum level though, we have not acquired enough information to be of much help at this point.

Much of what we know is based on theories of what we think happens when certain particles react to other particles. We seem to have a better idea of what happens on the cosmic level because of the size relationship.

The problems that debris can cause in the real world are far reaching and can be very dangerous. The main carrier of disease is the wind; but wind at accelerated speed can carry larger things such as cars, trees, and houses and although houses are not basically considered debris, a tornado can quickly change that idea.

We are beginning to see articles about the problem of chaotics in the construction of the next generation of super computer SLSIC (Super Large Scale Integrated Circuits). Miniaturization has finally put us in touch with the edge of the quantum world. This was the inevitable result of the continual pursuit of a miniaturization process.

Quantum debris - one can only guess what it could consist of. Because of the scale differential, even a wild imagination might have a tough time explaining. Let's try though, just for fun. It is not unreasonable to assume that electromagnet activity is intense and any debris would be tossed about according to its polarity. Maybe particles of what we know as debris do not exist as an undesirable entity. Undesirable characteristics, such as smelly gas particles or eye irritating specks, may not exist on the quantum level since there are no eyes or a nose to detect their presence, so maybe all particles play an equally important role. Could it be that simple? Naaa...we have never found anything to be simple on the quantum level. Particle physics has never proven to be predictable.

Quantum World

Quantum physics is such an elusive subject that most practical experiments are not currently possible. What is known about the quantum world are assumptions made by observations of the real world. This presents quite a handicap when one is trying to make sense out of quantum events. Still it would be unscientific to assume that elements that we observe have no parallel in the quantum level. They may be operating differently in the quantum level but they will most likely be there.


The procedures used to make transistors and other semiconductors, called doping, involves adding impurities to semiconductor materials which enhances the desired control level needed for a given device. So impurities can aid in the control function of semiconductors and the research has resulted in remarkable accomplishments.

One Size Fits All

The obsession to categorize and quantify everything may well hamper the progress when it comes to quantum research. It is a sign of desperation when physicists start grabbing at straws when things don't add up. It is sad to see that some will design a theory to fit the situation. Maybe the quantum community thinks that string theory will allow them to tie up all the loose ends to the theory of everything. Who is to say? It could be that a theory of everything does not ring true. Is it possible that we need to accept that there may not be a theory of everything?

Much embarrassment is avoided because quantum level speculation can not be proven. To think of circular forms vibrating like the strings of a violin is certainly a beautiful concept but when you manipulate things to fit a concept maybe there is something in the mix you are not seeing...could it be...The Debris Factor? □


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