|Approved for usage|
A tool which uses gravitic centrifuges and specialised neutron generators and (based on cold cathodes) and doppler-cooling to induce either nuclear fission or nuclear fusion to cut or seal matter very precisely without interference. It was introduced in YE34 by the Lazarus Consortium and is available for sale at 1800KS
Typically either used for component manufacturing (in the form of a 7-axis mounted arm, using ultra-high fidelity sensors which is usually used only in factories) who's accuracy is entirely dependent on how longer time is willing to be invested in the manufacture of the component or object - or a larger more robust three-fingered 'claw' array which is used for cutting and sealing of materials, which is accurate to 5 micrometers that could be fitted as an all-purpose device to mining equipment, maintenance-gear as a tool or even multi-purpose powered-armour.
Possible applications of the neutron applicator include high-accuracy high-yield nano-manufacture, mining, micro-manufacture, cutting tasks, repair tasks and sealing micro-fractures in hulls which would otherwise go undetected and be of high risk to those aboard. If the gamma-emissions could be solved, possible applications also include internal non-intrusive surgery.
Three devices sit around a central hub - gravitic centrifuges about each fingertip, triangulated with a source-material spray or exit point in the 'palm', with another triangulated set of centrifuges on the palm. The system relies extensively on gravitic resonance scans to infer the interior of an object in three dimensions and from there, compute the next step which needs to be performed.
First, electron beam processing is to soften stock material, usually stored behind the 'wrist' of the unit in a powder or liquid form, making it malleable. Gravitic centrifuges then position individual atoms, dividing clusters by half each time and then doppler-cooling is used to slow and trap the atoms into specific positions, acting as a sort of 3D atomic printer. This can be quite time consuming.
Generally, very low-resolution low complexity objects can be produced quite quickly in a matter of hours or sometimes minutes, depending on the object, since the system grabs clusters of atoms rather than individual atoms. By using especially large clumps and by ignoring gradients or crystalline defects in materials - which for the most tasks on the macro scale isn't actually very important.
In this case, a neutron cathode is used in place of the doppler-based trapping and cooling, speeding up the manufacturing process at the cost of possible manufacturing defects which again, in the macro-scale are typically unimportant unless the components under production demand precision.
In lower density materials, high intensity photons may be triangulated on a single point in order to introduce additional energy to perform corrections or for cutting tasks.
Important is that this process is additive, not subtractive meaning no material is wasted. This could be ideal when certain materials are scarse.
It should also be noted that for the highest precision possible, construction should take place in a true-vacuum under zero gravitational unwanted gravitational interference, meaning for fabrication, large facilities or factories may be needed.
While in theory, this allows for perfect-per-atom manufacture with a respectable yield, the fabrication time grows exponentially with the level of precision required and the number of atomic bonds an object actually contains. For example, the human body contains 7×1027 atoms, excluding things like bacteria or foreign objects.
Twelve component manufacturing units could produce a precise object the size of a human in approximately two weeks of manufacture. To actually produce an object with the logistical hassles of organics which could die during the manufacturing process would actually involve 128 devices, each working on individual components in nutrient rich substrates, working around the clock for just under a full year.
This duration of each operation could be reduced by one quarter but the radiation levels produced would rapidly kill off any living materials and the object itself would be thoroughly irradiated, which may create problems of its own, such as creating small faults in the material.
To this end, it is far better suited for the manufacture of components, simple repeatable blocks and components or to produce the seed of a self-supporting self-organising material such as a structol colony - which will likely be the primary use of this device – producing the basis of materials which in turn can then produce and organise themselves.
The same electron beam processing usually used to soften interior materials is used to soften the target object. Photons or neutrons are struck against the target in combination with gravitic sheering, slowly turning, rotating or splitting the component, ripping out material to form canyons which can be as thin as one or two atoms across, depending on the material in question and its gradient.
The speed of cutting tends to be much much faster than formation. To this end, if used in a subtractive manner, very high accuracy objects can be created but still not close to a per-atom scale. That said, this is usually suitable for most tasks.