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June 8th, 2007
Nanotechnology: Toward matter programmable to atomic precision:
I view nanotechnology in the larger context of making our world physically programmable. Ultimately, this means that making individual atoms act and move exactly the way we like should be as simple as writing a computer program. As the physical world becomes more programmable, many problems of daily life, from fixing broken computer parts to keeping medical implants from corroding, should become more tractable.
In recent experiments, I showed that the dielectrophoretic effect could be used to position, test, and assemble nanoelectronic devices into larger circuits. Such dielectrophoretic manipulation undermines the "fat fingers" argument against atomically precise nanosystems since field enhancement allows force field precision smaller than an electrode tip. In a computational study, I predict that certain diamond surfaces can locally raise the melting temperature of ice above human body temperature. Such surfaces may be useful in resolving the defrosting problem of cryonics, since they may enable atomically precise manipulation, in vivo, of biomolecules using "tweezers" of high-temperature ice.
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