In addition to the experimental project described here yesterday, there are now two more posted on the U.K. Software Control of Matter Ideas Factory blog which are very likely to be funded — the first experimental, the second theoretical:
Directed Reconfigurable Nanomachines
We propose a scheme to revolutionise the synthesis of nanodevices, nanomachines, and, ultimately, functional materials via the positional assembly of molecules and nanoscale building blocks. Computer-directed actuators will be used to drive (with sub-nanometre to sub-Angstrom precision) the elements of a nanosystem along pre-defined and entirely deterministic trajectories, thereby achieving structures not accessible by mimicing natural assembly strategies alone. Linkages and bonding between the building blocks will also be initiated, modulated, and – in some cases – terminated by direct computer control…
The Matter Compiler
An ambition to assemble molecules and materials under atomically precise control demands a big leap forward in control engineering and computer science. Is it possible to anticipate the properties and needs of a ‘nano-assembler’? If so, there is a need for a high level instruction language and a computer compiler that translates commands in this language into instructions for the ‘nano-assembler’. This development will require a breakthrough in understanding of chemical synthesis that must embrace the radically new ‘pick and place’ assembly method which is now possible in scanning probe microscopy (SPM). The Matter Compiler project is thus both an exercise in foresight, to anticipate developments in this area, and a prototype implementation for the engineering control and computer science aspects of directed molecular assembly…
So the votes are in: the entire U.S. community interested in manufacturing with atomic precision has submitted requests to emigrate to the U.K.
Kidding! But not by much. We are suffering a serious case of nanoenvy over here. —Christine