Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Possible Futures

BBC World Service to broadcast Forum discussion on graphene July 6th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company D-Wave Systems Announces 1,000 Qubit Processor and is Discussed in the Economist June 23rd, 2015

Global Nanoclays Market Analysis, Size, Growth, Trends And Segment Forecasts, 2015 To 2022: Grand View Research, Inc June 15th, 2015

Molecular Nanotechnology

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

$8.5M Grant For Developing Nano Printing Technology: 4-D printing to advance chemistry, materials sciences and defense capabilities June 18th, 2015

Injectable electronics: New system holds promise for basic neuroscience, treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases June 8th, 2015

One step closer to a single-molecule device: Columbia Engineering researchers first to create a single-molecule diode -- the ultimate in miniaturization for electronic devices -- with potential for real-world applications May 25th, 2015

Chip Technology

Could black phosphorus be the next silicon? New material could make it possible to pack more transistors on a chip, research suggests July 7th, 2015

A cool way to form 2-D conducting polymers using ice: POSTECH scientists develop breakthrough technique to easily optimize electrical properties of Polyaniline nanosheets to an unprecedented level in an environmental-friendly and inexpensive way July 7th, 2015

Fundamental observation of spin-controlled electrical conduction in metals: Ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy yields direct insight into the building block of modern magnetic memories July 6th, 2015

Transition from 3 to 2 dimensions increases conduction, MIPT scientists discover July 6th, 2015

Nanoelectronics

Transition from 3 to 2 dimensions increases conduction, MIPT scientists discover July 6th, 2015

New technology using silver may hold key to electronics advances July 2nd, 2015

Exagan Raises €5.7 Million to Produce High-efficiency GaN-on-Silicon Power-switching Devices on 200mm Wafers: Leti-and-Soitec Spinout Focused on Becoming Leading European Source Of GaN Devices for Solar, Automotive, Telecoms and Infrastructure June 25th, 2015

Nanowires could be the LEDs of the future June 25th, 2015

Discoveries

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Announcements

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

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