Nanotechnology Basics: For Students and Other Learners
What is nanotechnology all about?
Nanotechnology is the engineering of tiny machines the projected ability to build things from the bottom up inside personal nanofactories (PNs), using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, highly advanced products. Ultimately, nanotechnology will enable control of matter at the nanometer scale, using mechanochemistry. Shortly after this envisioned molecular machinery is created, it will result in a manufacturing revolution, probably causing severe disruption. It also has serious economic, social, environmental, and military implications.
A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, roughly the width of three or four atoms. The average human hair is about 25,000 nanometers wide.
You can see a longer explanation here. And to check out more of those tiny machines, click here.
What’s a personal nanofactory?
It’s a proposed new appliance, something that might sit on a countertop in your home. To build a personal nanofactory (PN), you need to start with a working fabricator, a nanoscale device that can combine individual molecules into useful shapes. A fabricator could build a very small nanofactory, which then could build another one twice as big, and so on. Within a period of weeks, you have a tabletop model.
Click to enlarge Artwork by John Burch, Lizard Fire Studios (3D Animation, Game Development)
Products made by a PN will be assembled from nanoblocks, which will be fabricated within the nanofactory. Computer aided design (CAD) programs will make it possible to create state-of-the-art products simply by specifying a pattern of predesigned nanoblocks. The question of when we will see a flood of nano-built products boils down to the question of how quickly the first fabricator can be designed and built.
MOVIE TIME: A short film called Productive Nanosystems: from Molecules to Superproducts depicts an animated view of a nanofactory and demonstrates key steps in the sample process that converts basic molecules into a billion-CPU laptop computer. The 4-minute streaming video is online here.
What could nanofactories produce?
How does ‘mechanochemistry’ work?
It’s a bit like enzymes (if you know your chemistry): you fix onto a molecule or two, then twist or pull or push in a precise way until a chemical reaction happens right where you want it. This happens in a vacuum, so you don’t have water molecules bumping around. It’s a lot more controllable that way.
So, if you want to add an atom to a surface, you start with that atom bound to a molecule called a “tool tip” at the end of a mechanical manipulator. You move the atom to the point where you want it to end up. You move the atom next to the surface, and make sure that it has a weaker bond to the tool tip than to the surface. When you bring them close enough, the bond will transfer. This is ordinary chemistry: an atom moving from one molecule to another when they come close enough to each other, and when the movement is energetically favorable. What’s different about mechanochemistry is that the tool tip molecule can be positioned by direct computer control, so you can do this one reaction at a wide variety of sites on the surface. Just a few reactions give you a lot of flexibility in what you make.
MECHANOSYNTHETIC REACTIONS Based on quantum chemistry by Walch and Merkle [Nanotechnology, 9, 285 (1998)], to deposit carbon, a device moves a vinylidenecarbene along a barrier-free path to bond to a diamond (100) surface dimer, twists 90 to break a pi bond, and then pulls to cleave the remaining sigma bond.
Why do some scientists dismiss this stuff as science fiction?
The whole concept of advanced nanotechnology molecular manufacturing (MM) is so complex and unfamiliar, and so staggering in its implications, that a few scientists, engineers, and other pundits have flatly declared it to be impossible. The debate is further confused by science-fictional hype and media misconceptions.
It should be noted that none of those who dismiss MM are experts in the field. They may work in chemistry, biotechnology, or other nanoscale sciences or technologies, but are not sufficiently familiar with MM theory to critique it meaningfully.
Many of the objections, including those of the late Richard Smalley, do not address the actual published proposals for MM. The rest are unfounded and incorrect assertions, contradicted by detailed calculations based on the relevant physical laws.
Is nanotechnology bad or good?
Nanotechnology offers great potential for benefit to humankind, and also brings severe dangers. While it is appropriate to examine carefully the risks and possible toxicity of nanoparticles and other products of nanoscale technology, the greatest hazards are posed by malicious or unwise use of molecular manufacturing. CRN’s focus is on designing and promoting mechanisms for safe development and effective administration of MM.
If MM is so dangerous, why not just completely ban all research and development?
Viewed with pessimism, molecular manufacturing could appear far too risky to be allowed to develop to anywhere near its full potential. However, a naive approach to limiting R&D, such as relinquishment, is flawed for at least two reasons. First, it will almost certainly be impossible to prevent the development of MM somewhere in the world. China, Japan, and other Asian nations have thriving nanotechnology programs, and the rapid advance of enabling technologies such as biotechnology, MEMS, and scanning-probe microscopy ensures that R&D efforts will be far easier in the near future than they are today. Second, MM will provide benefits that are simply too good to pass up, including environmental repair; clean, cheap, and efficient manufacturing; medical breakthroughs; immensely powerful computers; and easier access to space.
What about “grey goo”?
The dangers of self-replicating nanobots the so-called grey goo have been widely discussed, and it is generally perceived that molecular manufacturing is uncomfortably close to grey goo. However, the proposed production system that CRN supports does not involve free-floating assemblers or nanobots, but much larger factories with all the nanoscale machinery fastened down and inert without external control. As far as we know, a self-replicating mechanochemical nanobot is not excluded by the laws of physics, but such a thing would be extremely difficult to design and build even with a full molecular manufacturing capability. Fiction like Michael Crichton’s Prey might be good entertainment, but it’s not very good science.
How soon will molecular manufacturing be developed?
Based on our studies, CRN believes that molecular manufacturing could be successfully developed within the next ten years, and almost certainly will be developed within twenty years. For more, see our Timeline page.
Shouldn’t we be working on current problems like poverty, pollution, and stopping terrorism, instead of putting money into these far future technologies?
We should do both! Development and application of molecular manufacturing clearly can have a positive impact on solving many of today’s most urgent problems. But it’s equally clear than MM can exacerbate many of society’s ills. Knowing that it may be developed within the next decade or two (which is not “far future”), makes preparation for MM an urgent priority.
More! More! More!
Nanotechnology: Get REAL! – An online PowerPoint presentation
Nano Simulation – A way to visualize what is meant by molecular manufacturing
Nanotechnology on an Upward Slope – An online PowerPoint presentation
CRN’s Responsible Nanotechnology Blog – Stay up to date every day
Must-See Nanofactory Movie – Four minutes of fantastic future tech
CRN-talk – Join the conversation!
Go here to see the original:
Nanotechnology Basics for Students
- Nanotechnology congress & Expo - February 6th, 2017
- Maturing Nanotechnology Market- Bharat Book Bureau - December 7th, 2016
- Future Nanotechnology - October 17th, 2016
- Nanotek Conferences | Nanotechnology Conferences in ... - September 22nd, 2016
- Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the ... - September 20th, 2016
- Applications of nanotechnology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - September 13th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Excelsior College - September 13th, 2016
- Nanotechnology: What it can do for drug delivery - September 8th, 2016
- nanotechnology - National Geographic - September 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Chemistry (B.S.) | www.bloomu.edu - September 8th, 2016
- The World of Nanotechnology - How Nanotechnology Works ... - September 8th, 2016
- IBM Research | Research Areas | Nanotechnology - September 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology: A simple and fun introduction - Explain ... - September 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology | NSC - September 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - ScienceDaily - September 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Future Timeline - September 8th, 2016
- What is nanotechnology ? Webopedia Definition - September 8th, 2016
- A Snapshot of Nanotechnology - National Cancer Institute - September 8th, 2016
- What It Is and How It Works | Nano - September 8th, 2016
- Manufacturing at the Nanoscale | Nano - September 8th, 2016
- nanotechnology | Britannica.com - September 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology Introduction Pages - September 8th, 2016
- Space Nanotechnology Laboratory | MIT Kavli Institute for ... - September 8th, 2016
- Benefits and Applications | Nano - August 23rd, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Health Effects and Workplace Assessments and ... - August 23rd, 2016
- Nanotechnology Journals | Scholarly articles list | Nanomaterials - August 23rd, 2016
- Nanotechnology-Super Small Science - August 23rd, 2016
- History of nanotechnology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - August 23rd, 2016
- Nanotechnology at Zyvex - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - July 8th, 2016
- Georgia Tech | Cleanroom - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology News - Nanoscience, Nanotechnolgy, Nanotech ... - July 8th, 2016
- Erie Community College :: Nanotechnology - July 8th, 2016
- What is nanotechnology? | HowStuffWorks - July 8th, 2016
- The Ethics of Nanotechnology - Santa Clara University - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Friends of the Earth - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Wikipedia - July 8th, 2016
- Learn About Nanotechnology in Cancer - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Wikibooks, open books for an open world - July 8th, 2016
- NASA - Nanotechnology - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - US Forest Service Research & Development - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology: The Basics - Rice University | Coursera - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Simple English Wikipedia, the free ... - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - The New York Times - July 8th, 2016
- Impact of nanotechnology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology Introduction - What is nanotechnology? - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - About.com Education - July 8th, 2016
- Materials and Nanotechnology (NDSU) - July 8th, 2016
- What is nanotechnology (molecular manufacturing ... - July 8th, 2016
- IBM100 - Nanotechnology - July 8th, 2016
- About Nanotechnology - Foresight Institute - July 8th, 2016
- What is Nanotechnology? - ZL Wang's Homepage - July 8th, 2016
- Penn Nanotechnology Masters Degree - July 8th, 2016
- What is Nanotechnology? | National Nanotechnology ... - July 8th, 2016
- Nanotechnology - Food and Drug Administration - July 8th, 2016
- MEMS | Solid State Technology - September 1st, 2015
- Nanotechnology News - Phys.org - August 22nd, 2015
- Nanotechnology News -- ScienceDaily - August 22nd, 2015
- Nanorobotics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - August 7th, 2015
- Nanotechnology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - July 23rd, 2015
- DNA nanotechnology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - July 20th, 2015
- Nanotechnology - Applications - July 6th, 2015
- Nanotechnology - Zyvex - July 4th, 2015
- How Nanotechnology Works - HowStuffWorks - July 2nd, 2015
- Nanotechnology - IOPscience - July 2nd, 2015
- What is Nanotechnology? | Nano - June 1st, 2015
- Molecular nanotechnology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - May 21st, 2015
- Welcome to NASA Quest! - May 21st, 2015
- Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Information | AZoNano - May 21st, 2015
- NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer - May 20th, 2015
- Nanotechnology and Emerging Technologies - Nanoscience ... - May 20th, 2015
- Grey goo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - May 20th, 2015
- Bilkent University National Nanotechnology Research Center - Video - May 4th, 2015
- Nanotechnology In Mississippi Works - Video - May 4th, 2015
- Constantly 'dirty', NOT 'dirt'-nanotechnology? - Video - May 3rd, 2015
- Science Documentary: Augmented Reality, Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence - Video - May 3rd, 2015
- How identify a product with nanotechnology - IDs NANO - Video - May 3rd, 2015
- Fogless Shower Mirror, Anti-Fog Nanotechnology - Video - May 3rd, 2015
- Marrying Nanotechnology and the Rubber Band to Obtain Synthetic Muscle | Richard Spontak | TEDxNCSU - Video - May 3rd, 2015
Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith