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Archive for the 'Roadmaps' Category

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 6)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 13th, 2009

Open Questions Taking Feynman’s Path to nanotech, or even studying it seriously, would require finding answers to a number of open questions. These questions, however, are quite important and knowing the answers will be invaluable in understanding the envelope of possibilities for future manufacturing technology. Is it in fact possible to build a compact self-replicating [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 5)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 10th, 2009

Is it Worth Starting Now? Surely, you will say, it would have been wonderful if back in 1959 people had taken Feynman seriously and really tried the Feynman path: we’d have the full-fledged paraphernalia of real, live molecular machinery now, with everything ranging from nanofactories to cell-repair machines. After all, it’s been 50 years. The [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 4)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 9th, 2009

MEMS Another reason the Feynman Path may not have been tried is the perception that a machine-based approach has been tried in the form of MEMS, and that standard machine designs do not work at this scale and below due to stiction. MEMS are in fact crippled by this phenomenon, which is a essentially an [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 3)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 8th, 2009

Self-replicating Machines So why hasn’t the Feynman Path been attempted, or at least studied and analyzed? One possible reason is that there still seems to be a “giggle factor” associated with the notion of a compact, macroscale, self-replicating machine using standard fabrication and assembly techniques. Although studied in the abstract since von Neumann, and in [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 2)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 7th, 2009

Historical Note It’s appropriate on this July 7 to make at least a reference to the history of ideas that lies behind the Feynman Path. That’s because July 7 is the (102nd) birthday of Robert A Heinlein, the famous SF writer, futurist, and inventor. His invention of interest is the “Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 1)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 6th, 2009

The Problem In 1997, Philip Collins, then a graduate student at Berkeley, won the Foresight Institute’s Distinguished Student Award for his experimental verification that a defect location in a carbon nanotube could form a near-perfect rectifier, as well as various other heterojunction device behaviors, as had been theoretically predicted just the year before. “Such junctions [...]

Drexler’s slides posted

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 7th, 2009

Eric Drexler has posted the slides from his keynote talk at the Berkeley Nanotech Forum. These are a fairly painless way to get an overview of the Productive Nanosystems Roadmap.

The other half of nanotech

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on April 28th, 2009

As I pointed out in Nanotechnology Without Engines, nanotechnology’s promise of being a revolutionary rather than evolutionary technology was based on two key ideas: Nanotechnology, the revolutionary technology, was always about the power of self-replication and never only about the very small. This was clearly the case both in Drexler’s conception and in Feynman’s: … [...]

The nanotechnology we were promised

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 16th, 2009

A response to my “Parricide” essay has been seen on IEEE’s Tech Talk blog. Dexter Johnson gives a fair summary of the positions taken to date, and says As the argument seems to go, Drexler popularized the term nanotechnology in his book Engines of Creation, and so when the general public heard that thousands of [...]

Why the DMS debate is a good thing for nanotech

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 29th, 2008

One of the main reasons that we are confident in the overall predictions of molecular manufacturing is that there are many pathways to it from current technology and using currently understood science. It is thus something of a milestone that we have arrived at a fork in the road about which there is room for [...]

DNA nanotechnology provides an improved tweezers

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 7th, 2008

Re-engineering a simple nanotech device to make it more functional, Chinese scientists have developed an improved DNA tweezers that is able to capture, hold, and release a target molecule in a controlled manner.

Mechanosynthesis with AFM as a step toward advanced nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 6th, 2008

Robert A. Freitas Jr. brings to our attention a major step on the road to advanced nanotech, published a couple weeks ago in Science (abstract). He writes: This paper reports purely mechanical-based covalent bond-making and bond-breaking (true mechanosynthesis) involving atom by atom substitution of silicon (Si) atoms for tin (Sn) atoms in an Sn monolayer [...]

Research challenges for the diamondoid mechanosynthesis path to advanced nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 29th, 2008

On 5 June 2008, Robert Freitas and Ralph Merkle of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing (IMM) submitted to IEEE Spectrum the following response to the article “Rupturing the Nanotech Rapture” by Richard A.L. Jones (IEEE Spectrum, June 2008 issue). Their brief letter is reproduced below because Spectrum has chosen to publish only one of the [...]

Consortium for atomically precise manufacturing awarded $9.7 M to develop advanced nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 8th, 2008

DARPA and a Texas fund have awarded $9.7M to investigate one nanotech path toward atomically precise manufacturing.

Nanotechnology roadmap draws attention for importance of nanosystems design

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 22nd, 2008

On the Editor’s Page at Medical DeviceLinkCom, Shana Leonard writes about the crucial need for design and modeling techniques to guide nanosystems development toward fabrication, and cites the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. From “A Different Kind of Intelligent Design” Drawing from numerous workshops held from 2005 to 2007, Battelle (Columbus, OH) and the Foresight [...]

Lining up proteins for nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 27th, 2008

Advanced nanotech might benefit if proteins could be arrayed on a surface so that they could be quickly and easily scanned for function or interactions with other molecules.

Nanotechnology for inexpensive plastic memory

Posted by Jim Lewis on June 24th, 2008

A new concept for a very cheap plastic nanotech memory has been developed by combining the favorable properties of ferroelectrics and semiconductors.

Which way(s) to advanced nanotechnology?

Posted by Jim Lewis on June 9th, 2008

Will nanotechnology culminate with diamondoid nanorobots produced in nanofactories by atomically precise mechanosynthesis, or with “soft” machines that mimic the way biological molecular machines work?

Panel to discuss productive nanosystems Sunday night

Posted by Jim Lewis on May 15th, 2008

Sunday, May 18th at 7:00 PM Pacific / 10:00 PM Eastern, FastForward Radio will feature a distinguished panel discussing the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. The panel will discuss the background and history of the roadmap, and explore how it will serve to help realize these horizons. The panelists are: Christine Peterson, Acting President of [...]

Major nanotechnology milestone: protein catalysts designed for non-natural chemical reactions

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 25th, 2008

A major milestone along the protein design path to productive nanosytems and advanced nanotechnology has been achieved—the design by computational methods of enzymes that catalyze reactions for which biological enzymes do not exist.