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Top-down nanotechnology reaches downward

An interview by of the director of the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems got our attention. I’d give you a URL for this interview but it doesn’t seem to be on the web, only in email. An excerpt:

The molecular gate toolbit: This is a toolbit that uses efficient electrokinetic transport in long (high-aspect ratio) nanopores. These pores can be made with different diameters and surface properties to ‘select’ molecules from a stream and drive them to the printing surface for printing on to a substrate. We are working on creating a toolbit that embodies a large array of such nanopores that are electronically addressable so that they can be switched on and off to enable high-throughput printing of various biomaterials.

An interesting approach to using top-down nano to reach closer to the molecular level. A look at the Nano-CEMMS website shows that the center is joint project between UIUC, Caltech, NC State, and Stanford. Check out the site and enjoy their video “Thinking Big, Working Small“, which emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of their work.

Thinking of nanotech as a career and selecting a university? UIUC is looking good. (Of course, that’s true of many of the better schools these days, but UIUC is not as well-known as Stanford, Caltech, and MIT. Maybe not for long, though!) The website says that even undergrads can work at the center. —Christine

4 Responses to “Top-down nanotechnology reaches downward”

  1. Nanoman Says:

    Is this a form of molecular assembler, from the way its described? Could it be used to make covalent carbon and other structures and build assemblers?

  2. Christine Peterson Says:

    Not as described, no. It sounds like the molecular gate toolbit squirts out specific biomolecules in a pattern.

  3. Nanoman Says:

    Alright, thank you for the answer. As things are going, what area do you think appears to be the most promising for a true molecular assembler to come out of?

  4. Christine Peterson Says:

    Some people think that DNA nanotech is the best path for atomically-precise manufacturing; others prefer other pathways. See the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems on our website for various pathways.

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