Most science fiction dealing in the subject of force fields depicts them in a similar and unsophisticated light, e.g. force fields rarely do anything besides form basic polygons to create walls, protect spaceships, and so on. But I've wondered occasionally why science fiction (movies and mainstream writers are my main points of reference, to be honest) never seem to imagine worlds where an alien or future society uses force fields to construct all or some of their electronic devices. Or at least more sophisticated devices than shields, domes or walkways. If you're talking about a civilization that exists tens of thousands of years down the evolutionary highway, is there a somewhat realistic universe where force-field based electronics makes sense?
My basic thinking goes like this…most force fields in fiction are able to withstand extraordinary, high-velocity forces, repel electrical signals and laser beams, etc, and often imitate many properties of matter. Likewise, it seems fair to imagine some types of force fields could also conduct electricity and take on even more exotic properties of specific types of matter. If so, and this future society had mastered nanotechnology alongside their perversion of physics, is it too much of a stretch to imagine they'd built some kind of microscopic Holtzman generators that could create force-field based chassis, mechanical parts, and even circuitry? Maybe they’d also devised some method for programming the generators so that all of the various parts would generate at the same time, thus making it possible to pull a functional, force-field weapon (or whatever) out of thin air.
It seems like this concept hasn't really been explored much in mainstream science fiction, and I'm curious why that is. Can you think of other books, shows, or films that have explored the concept of force-field based complex devices or electronics as outlined above? More interestingly, what do you think would be the most science-based, logical way to describe how this technology would work in a story?