The Physical Basis of High-Throughput
Atomically Precise Manufacturing

by Eric Drexler on 2009/06/12

The body of this post has been updated and moved to this page.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ulisses Marioto June 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm UTC

Mr Drexler

I´d like to know

How much does this nanofactory´s cost to be done???

Is it possible to accelerating it in next five year with massive investiments ?

Please answer to me

Eric Drexler June 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm UTC

Imagine that the year is 1970 (when the 4-bit microprocessor was still in the future), and the question is how much it would cost to develop something like a Pentium. If it had been clear that Moore’s law progress would go far enough, this question would have made some sense, but what would have been the right answer? Not the cost of developing a Pentium from the immediately preceding generation of chips, nor the total investment in semiconductor technology starting from the Intel 4004. The development process paid for itself along the way, as with most technologies. That’s a natural scenario here.

It isn’t the only scenario, of course; there have been large, focused programs that weren’t driven by incremental commercial rewards — the Apollo Moon-landing program, for example. The development of increasingly advanced atomically precise fabracation technologies will likely be an intermediate case, as it has been so far.

The necessary technology base has been developing with both commercial and governmental support. It could move faster with greater support, but at the moment, the main opportunity is to coordinate research objectives to develop a stronger technology base for implementing a wide range of complex nanosystems. Framework-directed self-assembly, in particular, is at the threshold of becoming a very powerful technology. My recent post on 3D-SDN points to a recent milestone.

Gus K. June 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm UTC

Dr. Drexler:

I joined the Foresight Institute as a freshman in college, in 1991, and have followed your work with interest for the past 18 years. Most criticisms of MNT have been trivial and failed to understand or address the proposals. Richard Jones has recently made more pointed critiques: namely that stiff diamandoid structures will spontaneously reconfigure and also cannot catalyze reactions the way flexible proteins can. Therefore nano will not progress beyond “protein machines” or “soft machines”. It seems to me that an advanced nanomachine can have a combination of soft & hard parts, that fullerenes are very stable, and that “soft” protein-like systems can form multiple peptide- like bonds to build multiple covalant bond “hard” products. Has anyone made a point by point counter-argument to Jones? Thank you again for your work.

Gus K.

Ulisses Marioto June 17, 2009 at 6:36 am UTC

I know Dr. Drexler

This questions important to me, because here in Brazil, the government will spend 208 billion reais or 104 billion of dolars to extract pretoleum

It´s so ridiculous, there are air cars, hydrogen cars, eletric cars, water cars

With 10 % of this, i think you , perphaps, can advance in molecular manufacturing in 20 years

Adam @ assembly machinery August 11, 2009 at 12:51 am UTC

There is no way you can amass that kind of investment unless a big entity, like a government, is very interested in your project. Governments are more interested in getting turnaround on things in the short term than long term, that is why they pump so much into extracting petroleum.

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