April 2009

Machines Evolving to the Brink of Failure

April 30, 2009

Ribbon diagram of a beta-sheet protein Image from “Structural Computational Biology: Introduction and Background” While writing a post on molecular engineering for the Macromolecular Modeling Blog, I came across an EMBO Reports paper that provided new guidelines for protein engineering; It also illustrates a general principle that should be taken to heart by anyone thinking […]

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Top Posts

April 26, 2009

The tab above links a new page that highlights top posts by category. I’ll be updating it from time to time. Here are the current contents: Selected top posts: Modular molecular composite nanosystems Molecular modeling: next steps in development Self-assembly for atomically precise nanotechnologies Greenhouse gases and advanced nanotechnology

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Earth Day 1970,
and a high road down to molecules

April 23, 2009

First edition cover of The Limits to Growth (I’ve lost mine, but it looked like this) I had read Silent Spring before the first Earth Day (now 39 years ago), and I recall telling my classmates that it seemed like a bad idea to spread persistent poisons all over the landscape of a finite world. […]

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The Casimir Effect and Nanomachines

April 20, 2009

Van der Waals (forces ≥ Casimir-Polder) The Casimir effect can be viewed as a manifestation of the quantum-mechanical zero-point energy of the vacuum, and has recently been hyped as if it were something new and mysterious that will assist or maybe ruin advanced nanomechanical systems. It has inflamed the minds of something-for-nothing energy enthusiasts, too. […]

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Macromolecular Modeling
for Molecular Systems Engineering

April 16, 2009

A useful resource Nir London of the Macromolecular Modeling Blog has invited me to offer my perspective on the field. After patiently waiting for me to complete it, he’s posted the resulting essay, which I have cross-posted below. The Macromolecular Modeling Blog is hosted by the Rosetta Design Group, which offers molecular modeling services based […]

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Mechanochemistry, Mechanosynthesis,
and Molecular Machinery

April 14, 2009

Industrial-scale mechanosynthetic machinery (probably not optimized for this) Ball mill, Zhengzhou Hengxing Heavy Equipment Co.,Ltd Volume 1, Number 1 of Nature Chemistry is now out, and the next issue will include an article titled “Activating catalysts with mechanical force”. This article reports a nice experimental result and helps to illustrate the broad range of physical […]

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Motors, Brownian Motors,
and Brownian Mechanosynthesis

April 11, 2009

Robert Brown The first to observe the motions that Lucretius had explained I read a new paper today titled “A Bipedal DNA Brownian Motor with Coordinated Legs”, but I find that this has prompted me to write not about what is new there — an advance in mechanical DNA nanotechnologies that is related to purely-DNA-based […]

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Nanotechnology in Science Fiction
(and vice versa)

April 9, 2009

The Diamond Age – or – A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stevenson Advanced nanotechnology concepts and science fiction have been intertwined almost from the beginning. In the early years, critics often declared that the idea of molecular manufacturing “Sounds like science fiction” (like Moon rockets, perhaps?). They were right about the similarity, of […]

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Upcoming Talk at the
Berkeley Nanotechnology Forum

April 6, 2009

On April 26th, I’ll be giving a keynote addess at the Berkeley Nanotechnology Forum, a cross-disciplinary meeting organized by the Berkeley Nanotechnology Club and sponsored by the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Berkeley Nanosciences & Nanoengineering Institute, and the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems, among others. The meeting will be Sunday, April […]

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Nanosystems for Molecular Manufacturing

April 4, 2009

Molecular manufacturing (some development required) Montage of frames from the Productive Nanosystems video by John Burch While upgrading parts of the E-drexler.com website, though, I’ve been re-reading some of the on-line content from Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation, the book that grew into, then out of, my MIT dissertation. Nanosystems explores what physics tells […]

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Graphene Nanotechnology
(and TEAM Microscopes)

April 2, 2009

Graphene edge imaged with a TEAM microscope “Graphene at the Edge: Stability and Dynamics” Ç. Ö. Girit et al., Science, 323:1705–1708 (2009) I’ve intended to write about the wonders of graphene and related materials for nanotechnology, both as products and as a basis for building productive nanosystems, but there is so much to say that […]

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