Home > Press > Molecular Manufacturing: Step by Step
A new paper published by the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology suggests that development of molecular manufacturing can be an incremental process from today's capabilities, and may not be as distant as many believe.
Molecular Manufacturing: Step by Step
March 31, 2005
Advanced nanotechnology -- molecular manufacturing -- will bring benefits and risks, both on an unprecedented scale. A new paper published by the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology suggests that development of molecular manufacturing can be an incremental process from today's capabilities, and may not be as distant as many believe.
"Molecular manufacturing has always had great promise, but as a single challenge, it has seemed intimidating. Breaking the problem down into stages shows that it can be achieved step by step," says Chris Phoenix, CRN’s Director of Research and author of the paper, "Developing Molecular Manufacturing."
Three stages for the development of molecular manufacturing, each with specific capabilities, are identified in the paper. The first stage is the computer-controlled fabrication of precise molecular structures. The second stage uses nanoscale tools to build more tools, enabling exponential growth of the manufacturing base. The third stage, which integrates nanoscale products into large structures, leads directly to desktop "nanofactories" that could build advanced products.
Distributed general-purpose manufacturing of high-performance products has many potential impacts. Production of weapons, various forms of vice, and intellectual property violations would be difficult to regulate. Clumsy regulatory attempts could create an intractable black market infrastructure. The easing of logistic constraints could have military implications, as could sudden advances in robotics and aerospace. If used widely enough, a shift in industrial use of raw materials and location of manufacture could affect resource production and international trade patterns.
On the positive side, large-scale use of inexpensive but highly sophisticated technology could quickly replace inefficient or missing infrastructure. Advanced components and materials could make space access cheaper and easier. Rapid prototyping and production of nanoscale devices could be a boon to medical research and health care.
Mike Treder, Executive Director of CRN, says, "Because both the risks and the benefits of molecular manufacturing are so great, and because it can be developed step-by-step from today’s technologies, it is urgent that we gain a better understanding of the timetable, the capabilities, and the actual implications."
Phoenix adds, "Although the most transformative and dangerous results rely on the most advanced stage of development, success in earlier stages could lead to surprisingly rapid development of the more advanced capabilities. There are several specific areas of study that can improve our understanding of the potential of molecular manufacturing. These studies can and should be initiated today."
This release is posted online here
The full research paper, "Developing Molecular Manufacturing," is available here
About The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (crnano.org) is headquartered in New York. CRN is a non-profit think tank concerned with the major societal implications of advanced nanotechnology. We promote public awareness and education, and the crafting of effective policy to maximize benefits and reduce dangers. CRN is an affiliate of World Care, an international, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.
Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
Director of Research
Copyright © Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
If you have a comment, please Contact
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
Preparing for Nano
Durnham University's DEEPEN project comes to a close September 26th, 2012
Technical Seminar at ANFoS 2012 August 22nd, 2012
Nanotechnology shows we can innovate without economic growth April 12th, 2012
Thailand to host NanoThailand 2012 December 18th, 2011
Conference speakers: International think tank needed to identify techno-social turning points December 6th, 2013
Bangalore INDIA NANO 2013 Inaugurated December 5th, 2013
3-D printing and custom manufacturing: from concept to classroom: Strategic investments from NSF help engineers revolutionize the manufacturing process December 5th, 2013
The promise of nanotechnology December 4th, 2013
Diamond 'flaws' pave way for nanoscale MRI November 26th, 2013
Researchers at Penn Add Another Tool in Their Directed Assembly Toolkit November 12th, 2013
All aboard the nanotrain network November 11th, 2013
Build-A-Nanoparticle November 7th, 2013
Quantum effects help cells capture light, but the details are obscure: Ultrashort laser pulses reveal that 'coherence' plays a subtle role in energy transfers December 6th, 2013
Coal yields plenty of graphene quantum dots: Rice U. scientists find simple method for producing dots in bulk from coal, coke December 6th, 2013
The gene sequencing that everyone can afford in future December 6th, 2013
Silvija Gradečak seeks to better the world through new materials December 6th, 2013