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Nanotechnology: Enough with the wet/dry debate already

Nanowerk brings to our attention some confusion on an IEEE blog:

Somewhere along the line, the advocates for molecular nanotechnology (MNT) seem to have lost interest in actually seeing molecular manufacturing come to pass if it meant that the concepts of the mechanically engineered approach (Dry) are abandoned in favor of a biologically engineered method (Wet)…

What is curious about all this is that a quick perusal of the Foresight Institute’s blog Nanodot provides a number of examples of research and papers on biologically inspired “nanobots” and “nanotechnology” and little in experimentation on mechanosynthesis nanotechology:
Meet the Nubot: DNA nanotechnology robots
Nature’s nanotechnology motors to inspire future machines

Wet approaches have always been very popular here at Foresight, and also with the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems, as will be clear shortly when the launch conference program is posted.

There is some debate on how “dry” eventual nanosystems can be. To date, I have not heard conclusive arguments that they can’t be quite dry indeed. Time will tell. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of enthusiasm for different pathways, wet and dry, as the Roadmap launch conference will discuss.

I have dealt with this issue before. Let’s hope it will now quiet down. Multiple R&D pathways should be and are being pursued; they will all have payoffs of one kind or another, and we should expect interesting and profitable synergies as well. —Christine

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