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Archive for the 'Roadmaps' Category

Scaffolded DNA origami improvements advance DNA nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 25th, 2014

A 10-fold larger breadboard and 350-fold lower DNA synthesis costs make DNA origami a more useful stepping-stone toward atomically precise manufacturing.

What kind of nanomachines will advanced nanotechnology use?

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 31st, 2014

An interview with UK nanotechnologist Richard Jones argues that the surest and most efficient path to advanced nanomachine function will incorporate or mimic biomolecular nanomachinery rather than scaled down rigid conventional machinery.

A bird's-eye view of half a century of nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on May 7th, 2014

Reviewing Eric Drexler’s Radical Abundance, Phil Bowermaster provides an informed and insightful overview of the controversies that greeted the proposal for a nanotechnology aimed at developing a practical technology for atomically precise manufacturing. Along the way he shows how Drexler’s outlook evolved from 1986 to 2013.

Physicists suppress 'stiction' force that bedevils microscale machinery

Posted by Jim Lewis on April 19th, 2014

A possible top-down path to atomically precise manufacturing that passes through microscale machinery might be rendered easier because of recent progress in suppressing the Casimir force, which contributes to the ‘stiction’ problem often encountered with microelectromechanical systems.

Integrating DNA nanotechnology and RNA to transport nanoparticles along nanotubes

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 21st, 2014

A possible forerunner to a future molecular assembly line uses an artificial DNA motor to transport an artificial nanoparticle along a carbon nanotube track.

New Report: Nano-solutions for the 21st century

Posted by Stephanie C on December 20th, 2013

A recently released technology report titled Nano-solutions for the 21st century outlines nanotech-based solutions to global challenges. Several years in the making, the report was co-authored by Dennis Pamlin, Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Research Center for Sustainable Development (RCSD web site currently in Chinese only), and Eric Drexler, Academic Visitor [...]

Computational design of protein-small molecule interactions

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 26th, 2013

A major advance in the computational design of proteins that bind tightly to specific small molecules will facilitate several technologies, possibly including the development of atomically precise manufacturing.

Testing and improving scaffolded DNA origami for molecular nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 19th, 2012

In two different sets of experiments a German research group has shown that scaffolded DNA origami can be used to assemble complex structures with precise sub-nanometer positional control, and that constant temperature reaction can greatly increase yields and decrease production times.

Biological molecular motors programmed to run DNA chasis

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 17th, 2012

Two types of biological molecular motors that run in opposite directions along a protein track can be used in different arrangements to either move a complex DNA cargo along the track or engage in a tug-of-war.

Metal-organic frameworks provide large molecular cages for nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 10th, 2012

Large molecular cages constructed from metal-organic frameworks have set a record for the greatest surface area in the least mass.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are back in the news again. A few months ago we cited the use of MOFs by Canadian chemists to self-assemble a molecular wheel on an axis in a solid material. More recently chemists at Northwestern University have used MOFs to set a world record for surface area. From “A world record for highest-surface-area materials“:

Northwestern University researchers have broken a world record by creating two new synthetic materials with the greatest amount of surface areas reported to date.

Named NU-109 and NU-110, the materials belong to a class of crystalline nanostructure known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that are promising vessels for natural-gas and hydrogen storage for vehicles, and for catalysts, chemical sensing, light harvesting, drug delivery, and other uses requiring a large surface area per unit weight.

The materials’ promise lies in their vast internal surface area. If the internal surface area of one NU-110 crystal the size of a grain of salt could be unfolded, the surface area would cover a desktop. …

MOFs are composed of organic linkers held together by metal atoms, resulting in a molecular cage-like structure. The researchers believe they may be able to more than double the surface area of the materials by using less bulky linker units in the materials’ design. …

Beyond their near-term practical applications, Eric Drexler has cited MOFs as potentially useful building blocks in the molecular machine path to molecular manufacturing. Near-term applications may drive the technology development to produce more choices for molecular machine system components.
—James Lewis, PhD

Assembling biomolecular nanomachines: a path to a nanofactory?

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 4th, 2012

A “cut and paste” method uses an atomic force microscope to assemble protein and DNA molecules to form arbitrarily complex patterns on a surface. Developing this approach to form enzymatic assembly lines could be a path toward a general purpose nanofactory.

Atomically-precise positioning of a single atom transistor-VIDEO

Posted by Jim Lewis on February 19th, 2012

Researchers in Australia and the US have demonstrated a working transistor by placing of single atom of phosphorous with atomic precision between gates made of wires only a few phosphorous atoms wide. This demonstration points to possibly extending current computer technology to the atomic scale.

DNA motor navigates network of DNA tracks

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 31st, 2012

Scientists at Kyoto University and the University of Oxford have combined DNA origami and DNA motors to take another step toward programmed artificial molecular assembly lines.

Arrays of artificial molecular machines could lead to atomically precise nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 29th, 2011

A tutorial review available after free registration presents a theory-based exploration of the difficulty in moving from simple molecular switches to arrays of artificial molecular machines capable to doing substantial, useful external work.

Tutorial review of the promise of artificial molecular machines

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 11th, 2011

A tutorial review addresses the distinction between the many simple artificial molecular devices that are currently available and truly effective artificial molecular machines that would mimic the ubiquitous molecular machines present in living systems.

Lecture by Eric Drexler at Oxford on physical law and the future of nanotechnology (video)

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 6th, 2011

In a lecture at Oxford Eric Drexler argued that atomically precise manufacturing will be the next great revolution in the material basis of civilization, and discussed how we can establish reliable knowledge about key aspects of such technologies.

Green Nanotechnology Roadmap Highlights Opportunities and Challenges

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 23rd, 2011

A green nanotechnology roadmap released by the American Chemical Society describes the opportunities and barriers to developing commercial applications of nanomaterials that present little threat of harm to health and the environment, and concludes with an action agenda to more forward.

A modular molecular composite nanosystem for solar power

Posted by Jim Lewis on May 17th, 2011

A bacterial virus called M13 was genetically engineered to control the arrangement of carbon nanotubes, improving solar-cell efficiency by nearly one-third.

New software aids design of 3-D DNA structures

Posted by Jim Lewis on May 12th, 2011

New software for scaffolded DNA origami makes it easier to predict what shape will result from a given DNA template.

Much faster directed evolution of proteins could speed development of molecular machine systems

Posted by Jim Lewis on April 25th, 2011

Phage-assisted continuous evolution of proteins is roughly a hundred times faster than conventional laboratory evolution of proteins, perhaps speeding the development of components for molecular machine systems.