What is Nanotechnology?

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What is Nanotechnology?

Post  Host Intruder on Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:10 pm

A push is well underway to invent devices that manufacture at almost no cost, by treating atoms discretely, like computers treat bits of information. This would allow automatic construction of consumer goods without traditional labor, like a Xerox machine produces unlimited copies without a human retyping the original information.

Electronics is fueled by miniaturization. Working smaller has led to the tools capable of manipulating individual atoms like the proteins in a potato manipulate the atoms of soil, air and water to make copies of itself.

The shotgun marriage of chemistry and engineering called "Nanotechnology" is ushering in the era of self replicating machinery and self assembling consumer goods made from cheap raw atoms (Drexler, Merkle paraphrased).

Nanotechnology is molecular manufacturing or, more simply, building things one atom or molecule at a time with programmed nanoscopic robot arms. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter (3 - 4 atoms wide). Utilizing the well understood chemical properties of atoms and molecules (how they "stick" together), nanotechnology proposes the construction of novel molecular devices possessing extraordinary properties. The trick is to manipulate atoms individually and place them exactly where needed to produce the desired structure. This ability is almost in our grasp.

The anticipated payoff for mastering this technology is far beyond any human accomplishment so far...

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