Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > US researchers have built a proto-prototype nano assembler

Abstract:
Are nanobots on their way?

US researchers have built a proto-prototype nano assembler

USA | Posted on April 28th, 2008

The first real steps towards building a microscopic device that can construct nano machines have been taken by US researchers. Writing in the peer-reviewed publication, International Journal of Nanomanufacturing from Inderscience Publishers, researchers describe an early prototype for a nanoassembler.

In his 1986 book, The Engines of Creation, K Eric Drexler set down the long-term aim of nanotechnology - to create an assembler, a microscopic device, a robot, that could construct yet smaller devices from individual atoms and molecules.

For the last two decades, those researchers who recognized the potential have taken diminutive steps towards such a nanoassembler. Those taking the top-down approach have seen the manipulative power of the atomic force microscope (AFM), a machine that can observe and handle single atoms, as one solution. Those taking the bottom-up approach are using chemistry to build molecular machinery.

However, neither the top-down nor the bottom-up approach is yet to fulfill Drexler's prophecy of functional nanobots that can construct other machines on a scale of just a few billionths of a meter.

Jason Gorman of the Intelligent Systems Division at the US government's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) concedes that, "Nanoassembly is extremely challenging." Yet the rewards could be enormous with the ultimate potential of creating a technology that can construct almost any material from atoms and molecules from super-strong but incredibly lightweight construction materials to a molecular computer or even nanobots that can make other nanobots to solve global problems, such as food, water, and energy shortages.

Gorman and his colleagues at NIST have taken a novel approach to building a nanoassembler and reveal details in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing. "Our demonstration is still a work in progress," says Gorman, "you might describe it as a 'proto-prototype' for a nanoassembler."

AFM is the most commonly employed approach for top-down nanomanipulation research, explains Gorman. However, AFM suffers from a number limitations, as the nanoparticles stick together during manipulation and cannot be lifted from the substrate. This means that nanodevices constructed using AFM may be aesthetically pleasing and provide insights into what might be achievable but it cannot build practical nano machines.

The NIST system consists of four Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) devices positioned around a centrally located port on a chip into which the starting materials can be placed Each nanomanipulator is composed of positioning mechanism with an attached nanoprobe. By simultaneously controlling the position of each of these nanoprobes, the team can use them to cooperatively assemble a complex structure on a very small scale. "If successful, this project will result in an on-chip nanomanufacturing system that would be the first of its kind," says Gorman.

"Our micro-scale nanoassembly system is designed for real-time imaging of the nanomanipulation procedures using a scanning electron microscope," explains Gorman, "and multiple nanoprobes can be used to grasp nanostructures in a cooperative manner to enable complex assembly operations." Importantly, once the team has optimized their design they anticipate that nanoassembly systems could be made for around $400 per chip at present costs. This is thousands of times cheaper than macro-scale systems such as the AFM.

Gorman points out that it should be possible to have multiple nanoassemblers working simultaneously to manufacture next generation nanoelectronics. At the moment, his team is interested in developing the platform for scientists and engineers to make cutting edge discoveries in nanotechnology. "Very few effective tools exist for manipulation and assembly at the nano-scale, thereby limiting the growth of this critical field," he says.

"The work described in the IJNM paper is somewhat preliminary and focuses on the design and characterization of the micro-scale nanomanipulator sub-components," adds Gorman, "We are currently fabricating a somewhat revised micro-scale nanoassembly system that we believe will be capable of manipulating nanoparticles by the end of the summer," Gorman says, "We will publishing those results once they are available."

Gorman's work appears in detail in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing - "Design of an on-chip microscale nanoassembly system", Vol 1, Issue 6, pp 710-721

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jason Gorman

Copyright © Inderscience Publishers

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 2014

Nanoscience makes your wine better September 17th, 2014

Possible Futures

Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Molecular Nanotechnology

Nanoscale assembly line August 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster: University of Leicester research team unlocks insights into creation of new nano-materials July 25th, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Chip Technology

‘Small’ transformation yields big changes September 16th, 2014

UT Arlington research uses nanotechnology to help cool electrons with no external sources September 11th, 2014

Excitonic Dark States Shed Light on TMDC Atomic Layers: Berkeley Lab Discovery Holds Promise for Nanoelectronic and Photonic Applications September 11th, 2014

Researchers Create World’s Largest DNA Origami September 11th, 2014

Nanoelectronics

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Excitonic Dark States Shed Light on TMDC Atomic Layers: Berkeley Lab Discovery Holds Promise for Nanoelectronic and Photonic Applications September 11th, 2014

Researchers Create World’s Largest DNA Origami September 11th, 2014

Material development on the nanoscale: Doped graphene nanoribbons with potential September 8th, 2014

Discoveries

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 2014

Nanoscience makes your wine better September 17th, 2014

Announcements

New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Nanoscience makes your wine better September 17th, 2014

Effective Nanotechnology Innovations to Receive Mustafa Prize September 16th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE