March 2009

A Revolution
in de novo Protein Engineering Methodology

March 30, 2009

The product of a new design methodology “Design and engineering of an O2 transport protein” R L Koder, et al. Nature, 458: 305–309 (2009). In a recent Nature article, researchers describe the design of a peptide foldamer device (a.k.a. “protein”) that binds and releases oxygen in a way that resembles the heme protein, neuroglobin — […]

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Polyoxometalate Nanostructures

March 29, 2009

Polyoxometalate {Mo132} (two representations) “Towards Polyoxometalate-Integrated Nanosystems” D-L Long and L Cronin, Chem. Eur. J., 12: 3698–3706 (2006). [pdf] My technical talks often include a slide that shows several kinds of atomically precise components that may prove useful in composite nanosystems. One image is labeled “polyoxometalates”, a name that isn’t widely known. I think it […]

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Effective Concentration in Self Assembly,
Catalysis, and Mechanosynthesis (2)

March 27, 2009

Effective Concentration 2 In my post on effective concentration, I noted that the concentration of water in water (about as high as a real concentration can be) is 55 M, while observed effective concentrations are often >55,000 M. This is puzzling until you realize that, for a molecular collision to result in a reaction, it must typically […]

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Atomic Layer Deposition
for Atomically Precise Fabrication (1)

March 23, 2009

I recently posted on a surprising atomically precise fabrication process, and in a comment, Tom Craver remarked that If a method like this could be combined with Single Layer Deposition , it seems like it’d be getting awfully close to allowing building 3D structures — embedded in a solid, so the next step would be […]

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Effective Concentration in Self Assembly,
Catalysis, and Mechanosynthesis (1)

March 22, 2009

Effective Concentration I find that the concept of “effective concentration” helps to clarify my thinking about molecular processes that include catalysis, self assembly, and mechanosynthesis. The concept applies most directly to reaction rates, and it uses ordinary, solution-phase processes as a reference point. Reactant concentration and reaction rate In a relevant and typical case, molecules […]

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A High-Performance Polymer
for Nanosystems Engineering

March 19, 2009

Polymer-based molecular object (one of >10500 alternatives) Molecular objects made of a nylon-like, high-performance polymer are among the most intricate and functional nanostructures in existence today, and they’re being used to develop increasingly advanced, atomically precise nanotechnologies. This high-performance polymer is really more of a construction kit: Its monomeric parts can be bonded and folded […]

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Mission of Gravity, Part 2

March 18, 2009

A sleek and exquisite instrument GOCE is now in orbit. There had been some doubt: the previous ESA spacecraft to ride a Rockot went into the Arctic Ocean. But what is it? — see Mission of Gravity (part 1).

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AFM Atom Manipulation: A surprising technique

March 14, 2009

Replacing tin atoms with silicon using an AFM “Complex Patterning by Vertical Interchange Atom Manipulation Using Atomic Force Microscopy”Y Sugimoto, et al., Science, 322: 413–417 (2008). Shortly before I launched Metamodern, Science published a remarkable paper by Sugimoto et al. describing atom-by-atom manipulation of a monatomic layer of tin (Sn) on silicon (Si). The animation […]

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Pyrite Nanomaterials for Solar Photovoltaics

March 13, 2009

Pyrite (a mineral crystal form) A new paper in the journal Environmental Science & Technology assesses the requirements for scaling solar photovoltaic systems to the terawatt levels needed to supply electric power on a global scale. The authors identify iron pyrite, FeS2, as an attractive but unconventional alternative: The raw materials for pyrite aren’t scarce, […]

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CAD for Nanoengineering: DNA, proteins, and search-intensive design

March 11, 2009

In my previous post I discussed some basic design concerns that arise with atomically precise structures, and focused on materials having crystalline order. However, the ability to make structures like these is now extremely limited. Because they can’t yet be built systematically from smaller building blocks, structures of this general are more likely to be […]

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CAD for Nanoengineering: Atoms, materials, and nanostructures

March 9, 2009

One kind of atomically precise CAD (materials unavailable) CAD for structural DNA nanotechnology. Images from Nanoengineer-1 Computer-aided design of structures on an ordinary scale can ignore atoms, and this is a major simplification. A piece of steel, for example, can typically be treated as a homogenous and isotropic material. The dimensions and angles of a […]

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One Watt, One year, One dollar
(pass it on)

March 8, 2009

$150 per year 0.8 tons of CO2 For residential customers in the U.S., the average price of electricity has recently* been at $0.115 per kilowatt-hour. This works out to almost exactly $1.00 per Watt-year: Leave a 100 Watt light bulb on for a year, pay $100. I found this surprising when I calculated it. The […]

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