Nanotech Could Make Nuclear Weapons Much, Much Tinier

Are you ready for nano-weapons of mass destruction? Nanotechnology could be used to create "miniaturized nuclear weapons" that would have virtually no fallout, and super-efficient bioterrorism, warns Jane's Defense Quarterly. And they could be triggered with a super-laser!

A new article in the Miami Herald raises a terrifying prospect for nanotech warfare:

Jane's, the London-based research group that publishes the industry standard Jane's All the World's Aircraft, warns that nanotechnology can be used to create entirely new hazards such as miniaturized nuclear weapons that are smaller, lighter, easier to transport and hide and smuggle into unsuspecting countries. It says nano techniques designed to deliver medicines in a more-targeted way also can deliver toxic substances in a form of bioterrorism.

Nanotechnology, in which materials are machined on a molecule-by-molecule, or atom-by-atom basis, could produce super-nukes that are so tiny, they don't technically qualify as weapons of mass destruction, Jane's has warned in past articles.

In one 2003 article, Jane's warns that "some advanced technology, such as superlaser" could trigger a relatively small thermonuclear explosion involving a deuterium-tritium mixture, in a device weighing no more than a few kilograms. The device could go from a fraction of a ton to "many tens of tons" of high-explosive equivalent yield, and because they use little to no fissionable materials, they would have "virtually no radioactive fallout." Self-replicating nanotech could also produce conventional weapons in such quantities that they would become WMDs.

Are you scared yet?