|A building being constructed out of nanites|
|A building being constructed out of nanites|
|Faction||Empire of the Rising Sun|
|Brief||Capacity to create objects from the molecular level up|
Nanotechnology is the science of altering and manipulating matter at a molecular level, specifically by nanites. The tiny aspect of what nanotechnology is capable of, is rumoured to be what made Japan the Empire of the Rising Sun, and forms the basis of much of Japanese technology, in weapons, civilian livelihood and eventually, in space.
A Tiny Measure Edit
While the rest of the world was in the trenches of WWII, Japan was free to devote itself to science. Even when Japan briefly joined the Allies, there was no threat of war ever reaching its seas. So it follows, that the University of Tokyo wasn’t dedicated to researching theories that could result in weapons of war, something that the University of Kanegawa was pioneering in. Instead, the University of Tokyo was more concerned about the manipulation of atoms and molecules in the field of nanotechnology which resulted in stabilizing and creating a molecular nanomill, a structure composed of a tall, positively charged spire, with a spindle of three positively charged ions nearby. This rotated the spindle due to the repulsion between like charges, which in turn produced a tiny but free amount of heat.
Of course, Japan didn't share this breakthrough in nanotechnology with the international science community, since they were all busy fighting with each other, and because this technology would also be useful for future plans of Japan, something that Crown Prince Tatsu used to revolutionise Japan's military in secrecy.
With the ability to create energy on a molecular level, the Japanese could create smaller and smaller machines. There’s little practical application for a tiny machine, so the University of Tokyo created nanites that only formed molecules, hoping to eventually turn them into crucibles of rare elements. However, inspiration came in the servant robots and androids that brought them instant noodles when they were hungry while researching. If they created a machine that could create heat from nothing, couldn’t they create a machine that could forge materials from nothing?
Molecular Servants Edit
Despite Western misconceptions of nanites being tiny robots, the nanites Japan use are actually complex molecules, mostly carbon. Its moving parts are propelled by proton-electron pairs repelling each other. It is vaguely shaped like a sphere, with a wheel made of jutting carbon atoms along the vertical hemisphere allowing it to move. Its three arms are constructed to remove and replace subatomic particles, each arm specializing in protons, neutrons, or electrons. Nanites get best results when supplied with omni-gel, an amalgamation of all known and stable elements suspended in gel. The nanites can retrieve atoms from the surrounding environment, but this is painfully slow. A simple task that can take only minutes with omni-gel, can require months without omni-gel.
The molecule itself does not move unless it is "excited", with electrons in certain "joints" to move it to where it is required. To wire up every nanite is insane, complex and time-consuming; instead, the Empire uses "queen" nanites which control the "drone" nanites as they work on a surface. The Queen is gigantic by nanite standards, about half the size of a flea and visible to the naked eye. It needs to be extremely large, since the queen nanites are responsible for providing power to the drone nanites.
Each carbon atom that needs to be moved is shot with a nanometre-long plasma-cutter beam powered by a queen nanites. This process can happen millions of times in one second, so queens quickly run out of surplus energy despite the forest of nanomills on its back, and have to spend a minute or so recharging. Other queens take up the task in the meantime.
All the queens are linked by a constant plasma-cutter beam to a very powerful computer in a Nanocore, which does tens of thousands of equations at once. These computers aren’t complex as they only do simple calculations, but with so many calculations done each second the computing power required is quite demanding. To that end, the Japanese will only buy the most advanced integrated circuits from the Mediterranean Syndicate, and only if they lack enough of their own microchips for some reason in their own industry, since Japanese technology is far more advanced than the Syndicate’s. This is true as well for the field of computer technology.
The Syndicate enjoys its situation; not only is paid good money for it, but they’ve muscled into Japan to be the only non-Japanese corporation to be allowed to work with Japan, something even FutureTech was unable to manage. Their attempt to secretly build a Sprawl in Sado Island due to the close proximity of the Japanese mainland was however, thwarted by Yuriko Omega.
The Shinobi network had of course, managed to discover the plan. A Shinobi returning to Japan after discovering the plans with his group had passed by Yuriko Omega herself and relayed the information to her before informing the Shogunate a few minutes later. Just outside the Sea of Japan, Yuriko Omega was waiting, lonely. The Imperial vessels on patrol in the Sea of Japan was reassigned to provide support for Yuriko Omega in case something bad happened, but they stayed quite a distance from her.
When the ships from Roanapur Sprawl carrying the necessary ingredients to construct a Sprawl steamed towards the Sea of Japan all disguised as cargo ships, Yuriko Omega set to work. Had the Syndicate not used the ruse of civilian cargo ships without escort vessels, they might have fared better. The Imperial vessels at the back all watched in discomfort as Yuriko Omega singlehandedly levitated each ship into the air one after another when she was done with one, twisting and pulling the massive vessels apart without so much as a brain freeze. This soured the relationship between Japan and the Syndicate, something that was supported by the Japanese society.
Military Applications Edit
It was not long before the Imperial military saw the value of nanotechnology where military applications were concerned. As an industrial and construction technology, nanites were far superior to more primitive methods, capable of assembling a building from omni-gel within mere hours. There were some hurdles; early prototypes proved problematic, with the construction nanites often creating many errors that deviated from the blueprints. Eventually, these problems were sorted out, and today most Imperial field bases are constructed using militarised nanocores, which essentially are large crates of nanites, omni-gel and a powerful computer. These nanocores work automatically to create anything from a perch, to an entire structure.
Nanites are considered expendable; if all of them aren't used up during construction, the queen nanites disassembles the excess nanites, to prevent wild molecules from getting into the unfurling process. This lesson was learned by the University of Tokyo staff, when Sanshiro Pond was frozen on a warm afternoon due to free nanite that acted as a seed crystal and caused the strengthening of the bonds between the water molecules, causing the water to freeze at much higher temperatures. Usually, all the nanites are used up before construction is complete; it's not uncommon to have a half-formed light fixture or a malfunctioning computer requiring repair or replacement by human technicians.
In the Imperial military, there exist also units that have nanite generators on them for unfurling weapons or mecha, and the computer capability to have nanites literally leapfrog off each other to reach lengths beyond their normal operational range. While nanotechnology is used to construct something out of nothing, nothing prevents nanotechnology from doing the reverse and literally deconstructing something to nothing, as seen after the Third World War.
Nanotechnology is also employed in the treatment of injuries, allowing wounded soldiers to quickly get back on their feet. Nanites are employed to break down and extract the useful minerals in ore; so-called "nanolathes" are used by the military to rapidly manufacture ammunition and spare parts on the battlefield when obtaining them from regular supply lines would be slower or impractical, and most Imperial military equipment and vehicles use nanomaterials in their construction.
Below is a list of military units that make extensive use of nanotechnology.
- Giga Fortress (cancelled)
Civilian Applications Edit
Ever since the creation of the first practical nanite, nanotechnology has revolutionised many aspects of Japanese life outside of the military. Its myriad applications are far too many to list, but some uses include manufacturing and construction, ore refining, medicine, and the creation of materials with unique or superior properties.
One of the most useful applications of nanotechnology has been in the development of new materials. One of the better known materials would be nano-steel, a material that has the advantages of being much lighter than regular steel while still having comparable strength. Nano-steel is ubiquitous as a structural material, seeing use in buildings, railways, vehicles, aircraft and ships.
Besides nano-steel, there are many other nanomaterials, from nano-ceramics that possess extremely high tolerance to heat, to ultra-lightweight nano-polymers, to the more exotic materials, such as experimental meta-materials with negative refractive indexes and other unique properties. Currently, much Japanese nanomaterials research is focused on nanotubes and the various applications surrounding them; in particular, Japanese scientists are quite interested in the properties of carbon nanotubes.
Construction and ManufacturingEdit
Most of the Japanese buildings constructed in the past ten years, from the hastily assembled structures seen in Imperial field bases to Tokyo's towering skyscrapers, have employed nanites in some part of their construction. Today, nanites are employed extensively in the construction industry, used in tandem with more traditional methods of construction. Nanites are also often used to sculpt interiors in addition to providing decorative finishes for building exteriors.
Nanotechnology is also employed in the fabrication of objects. Many Japanese homes today are equipped with machines known as "nanolathes". Best described as "3-dimensional printers", nanolathes can be used to rapidly fabricate small objects from virtually any material that they are fed with. Though traditional methods are still used for mass production, their ability to be used with computers (specifically "3-D modelling programs") means that they can produce almost anything that the user specifies; this makes nanolathes extremely useful for producing custom, low volume objects, or prototyping designs. Small nanolathes are quite compact, with the smallest designs capable of fitting onto a desk; larger nanolathes, such as those used by the military, can be the size of a small room and have the ability to produce bigger objects like motorcycles.
Nanotechnology has also revolutionised the field of medicine in Japan. The most overt use would be in the use of medical nanites to seek out and repair any damage inflicted to the body, or even hunt down and destroy cancerous cells or harmful microbes. However, this technology is still fairly cutting edge and so far, outside of the military only a few high end Tokyo hospitals have access to such medical nanites.
More widespread would be the use of nanocompounds in drugs; for example, many Japanese drugs contain nanoparticles that allow for delivery of the drug to specific cells, limiting side effects and maximising effectiveness. Nanotechnology is also used as a medical diagnostic tool; nanites inside a body can provide information that other methods of diagnosis could not.
The Madagascar Enigma Edit
A multi-frequency radio signal was emanating from the depths of Madagascar, interfering with aircraft flying nearby. A small Allied expedition from Pretoria was sent to track it down and investigate the source. Hacking through the thick jungle while following the signal, they came across a half-formed, half-melted metallic object. Not knowing what it was, they packed it up and shipped it to Technikon Northern Gauteng in South Africa.
Suspecting Empire trickery, they used an electron microscope to gauge the surface of the object. As they expected, there were nanites, but several odd things were present too: For one, the nanites (though still molecules) were much less complex than Japanese standards (a theoretical standard, since Japanese nanotechnology was many, many decades ahead of the international scientific community). The nanites also appeared to be walking on the surface with "legs" instead of the wheels normally seen on the debris of Imperial military structures. Lastly and most curiously, they were moving without any apparent external power source.
Before they could be further studied, all the nanites in view rotated their position (the scientist observing them got the impression they were looking up at him) before disintegrating instantly, generating so much heat that the electron microscope’s delicate mechanism was ruined. When a new electron microscope was brought in, the nanites were gone. Only the metallic object remains, leaving no clues as to what it was.