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Challenges & Opportunities: The Future of Nano & Bio Technologies Chris Phoenix Nanotechnology From 1959 to 2029 Overview Important time periods Feynman to mid-80's 1986 to 2007 2008 to 2022 2022 to 2029 Important technologies Nanoscale technologies Molecular manufacturing

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Nanotechnology From 1959 to 2029

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Challenges opportunities the future of nano bio technologies chris phoenix l.jpg

Challenges & Opportunities:

The Future of Nano & Bio Technologies

Chris Phoenix

Nanotechnology From 1959 to 2029


Overview l.jpg

Overview

Important time periods

  • Feynman to mid-80's

  • 1986 to 2007

  • 2008 to 2022

  • 2022 to 2029

    Important technologies

  • Nanoscale technologies

  • Molecular manufacturing

  • Other significant technologies


Before nanotechnology l.jpg

Before “Nanotechnology”

  • Richard Feynman, 1959:

    “There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom”

  • Colloids

  • Electron microscopes

  • Von Neumann

  • Early 80's: Drexler publishes peer-reviewed articles


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Mid 1980's: Nanotechnology Begins

  • Drexler publishes Engines of Creation

  • Foresight Institute founded

  • “Grey goo” worries begin

  • “Universal assembler,” “disassembler”

  • “Nanotechnology”


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Early Molecular Manufacturing

  • Based on biology

    • Small manufacturing systems

    • Organic-like chemistry

  • High performance

  • Large potential impact

  • Attracted transhumanists, cryonicists, etc.


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Molecular Manufacturing's Power

Scaling laws

Low friction and wear

General-purpose manufacturing

Highly reliable operation

High material strength

Inexpensive material (carbon)


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Skepticism

  • How can a machine reproduce?

  • Won't quantum uncertainty...?

  • How can you power it?

  • How can you control it?

  • Chemistry is too unreliable!


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Nanomedicine

  • Build with molecules --> meet cells at their own level.

  • Small and numerous --> whole-body interventions

  • Respirocytes, etc.

  • 1999: Freitas --> Nanomedicine I

  • 1996-2002: Vasculoid


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Vasculoid: Replace Blood

  • 150 trillion plates lining blood vessels

  • 166 T boxes transport molecules and cells inside hollow tube

  • Avoid bleeding, poisons, metastasized cancer, etc.

  • Extremely aggressive but appears possible

  • 111 pages long, 587 references


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1990's: Concepts Mature

  • Drexler publishes Nanosystems

    • Lots of physics analysis

    • Diamondoid

    • Nanofactories

    • Largely ignored outside community

  • Other “nanotechnology”

  • Skepticism (e.g. SciAm)


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Physics of Nanosystems

  • Scaling Laws

    • Power density ~ L^-1

    • Component density ~ L^-3

    • Operation frequency ~ L^-1

    • Relative throughput ~ L^-4

  • Atom-scale Physics

    • Superlubricity

    • Discrete dimensions

    • Quantum phenomena


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2000: Nanotech Goes Mainstream

  • National Nanotechnology Initiative

    • $1B per year for nanotech

    • Nanotech defined as anything small and interesting

  • “Why The Future Doesn't Need Us”

    • Stated that one “oops” could destroy the world with grey goo

  • Strong incentive to marginalize molecular manufacturing


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Nanoscale Technologies

Build small objects and structures

Use big machines

Limited product range

Diverse but limited applications

Lots of cool physics tricks

Not just one technology; not even a family

Materials, not products


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2000-2007

  • Nanoscale tech advances in many directions

  • Nanoparticle concerns

  • CRN founded Dec. 2002

  • Drexler/Smalley debate

  • NMAB report

  • Opposition to MM slowly fades


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Nanoscale tech in the stone age

  • Unlock natural properties

  • Access the small stuff indirectly

  • Very sophisticated techniques needed

  • Useful and complex products

  • Limited flexibility

  • Ask a flint knapper to make a gear...

    (Ask a flint knapper what good a gear is...)


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2000-2007 (continued)

  • Nanofactory architecture matures

  • Foresight/Battelle Productive Nanosystems Roadmap

  • NanoRex

  • Zyvex

  • Nanofactory Collaboration

  • Ideas Factory


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Nanofactory Architecture

  • “Design of a Primitive Nanofactory”

    • Chris Phoenix, Oct. 2003, JETpress

    • Demonstrate that nanofactories could be bootstrapped quickly

    • Physical architecture, power, redundancy, product specification and capabilities, bootstrapping time, etc., etc.

    • 73 pages


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Burch/Drexler Nanofactory

  • “Productive Nanosystems: From Molecules To Superproducts”

  • Video released July 2005

  • Introduced planar assembly

  • Obsoleted about ¼ of Primitive Nanofactory paper


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NIAC Contract

  • With Tee Toth-Fejel

  • Developed bootstrapping concepts

  • Fleshed out planar-assembly nanofactory architecture

  • Showed one of many ways to develop exponential manufacturing


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“Tattoo Needle” architecture


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Recent tech advances

  • Oyabu: Pick and place silicon atoms

  • Schafmeister: rigid biopolymer

  • Rothemund: DNA staples

  • Freitas, Merkle, Drexler, Allis: mechanosynthesis studies

  • Seeman: DNA building DNA


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2008-2015

  • Nanoscale tech continues

    • Better computers

    • Medicine(!)

    • Materials

    • Sensors

  • Molecular manufacturing continues

    • More scanning probe chemistry

    • Better designs

    • More mainstream acceptance


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2016-2022

  • Diamond fabrication by SPM

  • Push for a nanofactory (may happen earlier)

  • Nanoscale science matures

  • Nanoscale tech keeps growing, needs better manufacturing

  • Recognition of MM implications??

  • Nanofactory??


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2023-2029

General-purpose nanotech manufacturing accelerates other technologies

  • Medicine

  • Brain/machine interface

  • Spaceflight

  • Computers/networks/sensors

  • Planet-scale engineering(?)


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Bootstrapping Options

  • Direct diamond synthesis (Freitas)

  • Biopolymer machines (Drexler)

  • Molecular building blocks (Toth-Fejel)

  • Top-down manufacturing (Hall)

  • Other covalent solids


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Development Cost of MM

In 1980's, tens or hundreds of $B

In 1990's, a few $B

In 2000's, several hundred $M

In 2010's, tens of $M

In 2020's, a few $M

(This is for a ten-year program)

Would have been worth it in 1980!


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Conclusion

  • Molecular manufacturing will be developed soon

  • This is where nanotechnology is going

  • It will be more powerful, and more impactful, than we can easily imagine


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